The new action-crime-comedy "Free Fire" is rated R - R as in ringing in your ears, the result of really repetitive gunfire.
Only Copley, the South African star of "District 9", really stands out, playing a vain, meticulously groomed clown; we laugh at him because it's amusing to see his swanky leisure suit get bloody and dirty. During those first few minutes, we learn a couple of things. The deal goes down in an abandoned waterfront warehouse that still has a lot of junk lying around. Money, guns and trash talk are exchanged. The "why" isn't immediately clear, but we know that it will. For many of you, what I'm about to say will overhype Free Fire.
It would be pointless to list each character and his or her affiliation. Which means that this all turns very quickly into a bunch of not terribly bright people who are all injured in one way or another limping around in chaos trying to work their way to the exits, shouting at each other to try and keep some semblance of who's on whose side. When things head south and bullets start ricocheting around the large, enclosed space, each person takes a side on whichever faction seems most convenient for survival. After all, a lengthy shootout should get boring, right?
It's also a hell of a lot of fun.
Though Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley are the ones who made the deal, there are plenty of others involved in this gunfight on each side, and each of them is fantastic.
The second is the film's dialogue, which is snappy, snippy, quippy, and really amusing. If High-Rise was debauched and delirious, Free Fire is rougher, grittier and even more chaotic. The movie is so bare-bones, it strips characters down to witty quips: "He was misdiagnosed as a child genius, and never got over it", "I'm not dead, I'm just regrouping". The movie's not an unremitting action sequence-the characters pause to rethink their strategies or switch allegiances-but the claustrophobic sameness is daring, enveloping, and tedious in just about equal measure. So, you know, if you're in the mood for a chaotically edited picture that isn't particularly amusing and only features one winning performance but also happens to be short, then maybe Free Fire is the movie for you. Unlike Sharlto Copley, who steals the show as arms-merchant Vernon, a preening South African (or "Austrian", per some of the dumber folks on site), who drops his catch phrase "Live and Vern", to little effect. He's the main gun dealer, and pretty much all of his lines are winners. This is really the biggest flaw with the film because you're waiting for something more to happen, but it never does. Unless the reason is simply that its appealing company of not-quite-stars - Larson, Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sam Riley - all look sharp in polyester.
Free Fire is a movie consisting primarily of one protracted shootout. But regardless of how you feel morally or ethically about the practice of massacres being perpetrated by the protagonists of your popcorn entertainment, the preponderance of those cinematic spree killings makes the tone and approach of Free Fire's violence a welcome relief.
Sharlto Copley is also on hand giving... well, "The Sharlto Copley Performance".More news: Here's how to correctly file an IRS tax extension