“FREE FIRE” My rating: C+
90 minutes | MPAA rating: R
A dozen tough guys stewing in their own testosterone. A van packed with illegal weapons. A briefcase full of cash. A closed environment from which there is no easy escape.
What could go wrong?
A streamlined 90 minutes of pumped-up bullet blasting (literally) and wienie waving (metaphorically), “Free Fire” is the latest from Brit action auteur Ben Wheatley (“Kill List”), but its origins are pure Quentin Tarantino, with special nods to “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Hateful Eight.”
In an abandoned umbrella factory in Boston an arms deal is taking place.
Chris (Cillian Murphy) has crossed the pond to buy automatic weapons for the IRA (the time is the mid-‘70s, judging by the dreadful fashions, hairstyles and absence of cell phones).
He’s backed by the grimly efficient hitman Frank (Wheatley regular Michael Smiley), Frank’s screwup brother-in-law Stevo (Sam Riley), and Stevo’s worthless running buddy, Bernie (Enzo Cilenti).
Selling the weapons is Rhodesian gun runner Vernon (Sharlto Copley), a world-class sleazebag whose smarmy mouth keeps writing checks his fists cannot cash. Good thing his seemingly civilized partner Martin (Babou Ceesay) is there to keep Vernon in check.
Vernon has his own goon squad on hand: The mountainously hairy Jimmy (Mark Monero) and the wizened Gordon (Noah Taylor).
Supervising the transaction are the two middlemen who set up the deal. Ord (Armie Hammer) is a superslick dude in a turtleneck and blazer who oozes post-modern irony; Justine (Brie Larson) is a cool beauty sharp enough to verbally emasculate chauvinists like Vernon but willing to use her seductive skills to get what she wants. (more…)