Blu-ray Review: FREE FIRE

FREE FIRE was directed by Ben Wheatley from a screenplay by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley and stars Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor. The movie was executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Free Fire is an electrifying action-thriller about an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Set in 1970s Boston, the film opens with Justine (Larson), a mysterious American businesswoman, and her wise-cracking associate Ord (Hammer) arranging a black-market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse between IRA arms buyer Chris (Murphy) and shifty South African gunrunner Vernon (Copley). What starts as a polite if uneasy exchange soon goes south when tensions escalate and shots are fired, quickly leading to a full-on battle royale where it’s every man (and woman) for themselves.

Free Fire follows these two groups (buyers and sellers) that meet up in this old abandoned warehouse to handle some illegal business. It’s a black market arms trade that quickly goes south as soon as the introductions are over with tempers flaring and paranoia escalating. This is where each side gets trigger-happy and begins to shoot at one another and they’re all pretty good shots because everyone pretty much gets hit at least once in this messed up fiasco. They continue to bark back and forth like rabid dogs and even slip in some sneaky shots from time to time. There’s a few of them who are smarter than the others and end up playing the waiting game to see who lives and who dies as this insane bullet-filled shootout between these madmen and one woman all plays out.

Okay, I loved everything about this movie that was so much better than I thought it was going to be. The movie takes place in the 70’s and with that comes this terrible fashion sense – big collars and bell bottoms! The story was smart and all of these characters were so interesting. Everything goes by so fast that there’s really no character development or name introduction but its really unnecessary because each character has their own unique personality and attitude. Some over-the-top, some way too loud, some way to quiet and some as shady as they come – that’s how I’d describe these characters. What’s cool is that Free Fire was shot in real time (most novies are not!) and all the insanity takes place inside this old abandoned warehouse. Surprisingly, the movie is really a fast-paced watch from beginning to end. And in the end, every character ultimately gets what’s coming to them.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc has a grey finish and only features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I had a freaking blast watching Free Fire which ended up being this cinematic mashup of action, thriller and comedy all rolled into one fast-paced rollercoaster ride. This is easily Ben Wheatley’s best work to date (just behind High-Rise) and he only gets better with each new movie he cranks out. Wheatley’s direction is complimented nicely by this incredible cast of characters that delivers the chaos, violence and humor that takes place throughout the watch. The highlights to me were the standout performances by Sharlto Copley who delivered some hilarious moments with his character and Brie Larson whose character didn’t have much to say but she definitely held her own against this testosterone heavy cast. With all the bullets flying around, there’s also some blood and gore to go along with it all. Oh yeah! Free Fire releases on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) on July 18th and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.39:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include audio commentary with co-writer/director Ben Wheatley, a featurette looking at the making of the film, and the cast that brought it to life and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Ben Wheatley
  • “The Making of Free Fire” Featurette
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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