Free Fire

Critics Consensus

Free Fire aims squarely for genre thrills, and hits its target repeatedly and with great gusto -- albeit with something less than pure cinematic grace.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 226

52%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,282
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Movie Info

Bold, breathless and wickedly fun, Free Fire is an electrifying action comedy about an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Acclaimed filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List, High Rise) propels the audience head-on into quite possibly the most epic shootout ever seen on film as he crafts a spectacular parody -- and biting critique -- of the insanity of gun violence. Everyone's got a gun, and absolutely no one is in control. Set in a colorful yet gritty 1970s Boston, Free Fire opens with Justine (Oscar (R) winner Brie Larson), a mysterious American businesswoman, and her wise-cracking associate Ord (Armie Hammer) arranging a black-market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse between IRA arms buyer Chris (Cillian Murphy) and shifty South African gun runner Vernon (Sharlto 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. Packed with witty one-liners, flamboyant characters and remarkable feats of cinematic gunplay, Free Fire is a full-throttle action extravaganza that keeps things fresh and fun with Wheatley's alternately buoyant and savage sense of humor. Swinging from the madcap to the macabre and back again, the film is an exhilarating experience that will leave you quite literally blown away

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Critic Reviews for Free Fire

All Critics (226) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (156) | Rotten (70)

  • Wheatley allows his notorious black humour to resurface, and with 90 minutes of mindless shootouts, he reaches his goal.

    Jul 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Without soul or wit, we're left with nothing but bad Halloween costumes and artillery. Nostalgia never felt so bad.

    Apr 24, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • For those who don't mind a little blood & gore and a lot of profanity, Free Fire is a superior alternative to the big-name, bloated action films hogging the largest screens in most multiplexes.

    Apr 23, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Cornfed curse words fuel a script that doesn't amount to much more than a hateful snatch of Tarantino's set-bound posturing, spiked with a blend of pre-Madonna, semi-intelligible Guy Ritchie oddballs.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…
  • Ben Wheatley shouldn't settle for becoming the next Guy Ritchie. For some reason, he'd like to.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Armie Hammer has a gift for deadpan humor, and it's put to great use here. Cillian Murphy is the closest thing to a hero (or at least anti-hero we can root for) in the movie. Brie Larson is a gamer.

    Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Free Fire

  • Feb 23, 2019
    If you want to read the review I wrote for this, go to letterboxd.com/HankIsDead514. I can no longer post long reviews on here and I'm not writing two separate reviews for the same movie.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2017
    Not every film has to be the next Titanic or Gone with the Wind. Not sure why I decided on those two films, but sometimes it's nice to enjoy a nice 90-minute action comedy. Free fire is undeniably chaotic, bloated with violence, and entirely irreverent. But it's also full of charisma, wit, and some dang good action. Balancing all of those things is a tough task, luckily Free Fire as a whole has more shots connected than the characters themselves do. Starring, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, and Jack Reynor (among many others), this is as about as modernized Reservoir Dogs as you can get. Everyone comes in with their own agendas and rarely does a character fully commit to the side he or she is on. The one thing you can count on is everyone giving a great performance. No performance here is going to win any Oscars, but they all know exactly the type of movie they are in, and act accordingly. To me, the standouts are Copley and Hammer. I've been critical of Hammer in the past for just feeling too generic in certain roles (see: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), but he certainly doesn't fall victim of that here. Perhaps the strangest part about the film is that you get no context for this meeting between two gun gangs at all. Within the first 10 minutes, the gangs are already having disagreements and ready to blow each other's brains out, yet the relationships between the two groups works really well. It also doesn't hurt that the script is rapidly paced and quippy from beginning to end. My one complaint with the film is that after a while it gets rather tiring. One location with hundreds upon hundreds of bullets flying left and right can be an exhausting experience. The action is somewhat freshly directed, with a calmer approach to say Kingsman, but still more over-the-top than your average action thriller. It's also hard not to see the lack of execution with Brie Larson's character. This lady is an Oscar winner, don't belittle her to someone men have to save. She isn't always that in Free Fire, but there was much more potential to have her be a worthy character here, especially considering she's the only female character. Other than that, I can't really complain. Free Fire is a joy, albeit a tad chaotic. 7.2/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2017
    When a movie or episode comes to us in the "bottle" form, it is designed to let the actors riff off each other over the course of the allotted time while saving some money for the studio in the process. While I love a good bottle movie (See Hateful 8, Moon or even the Breakfast Club), sometimes it requires better story telling from the director and writers than a traditional movie due to locking yourself in a tight space where the actors can't just be the only thing to carry a movie past average. For Free Fire, the cast is certainly up to the task with the likes of Brie Larson, Shartlo Copley, Cillian Murphy and Armie Hammer just to name a few, but even the 85-minute run time leaves us in a warehouse too long with the premise and overall story missing the mark about as many times as these characters miss with their bullets. It's designed as a shoot-em up with a simple premise behind why things pop off. Though director Ben Wheatley is known for dark humor (Sightseers) or action bordering on horror (Kill List), he has trouble combining the two successfully. We either get stalled moments with silly dialogue (granted it is funny) from Copley's character without much else going on or we get mindless shooting in varied directions. I mean, it took me a solid 20 minutes into the movie to finally understand who was on who's side after the gunfire starts. Wheatley does his best to try and pair off different actors with each other throughout the movie to switch up dialogue patterns and outcomes, but it takes so long getting to each new pairing watching someone crawl army style on the ground for what feels like 5 minutes that I wish I could have fast forwarded to the interactions to bypass the transitions. But...having said the bulk of what is wrong with the film, it was still enjoyable enough to watch the actors have as much fun as it seemed they did. It's just a shame the movie never digs itself out of an average rush squarely focused on delivering adrenaline one bullet at a time...even if it takes 100 bullets to get there.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2017
    The promotional campaign for Ben Wheatley's "Free Fire" had me convinced it would be the divisive filmmaker's first film to truly satisfy. Wheatley's got talent, and each of his films have impressed me on one hand and let me down on another. "Kill List" and "A Field in England" are the biggest examples I have of this. He revels in fractured, sub-coherent plotting and uneasy genre-blending; and I have found the results frustrating so far. With the Scorsese stamp of approval, "Free Fire" looked to be a stylish, straight-forward yarn with a simple albeit bold hook that could fully and unpretentiously display Wheatley's entertaining side. The result is Wheatley's most accessible film to date. Set primarily during one sustained action sequence (a shootout in an abandoned warehouse), "Free Fire" cooks as a straight, no-frills action thriller with comedic elements. Wheatley has dropped the Lynchian flourishes and surreal horror found in most of his work for something resembling a "Budget Tarantino." Dialogue is fired faster and with more reckless abandon than bullets in the picture. It's as if there are two shootouts running congruent to each other for 80 minutes. The film's greatest strength is it's cast. This is an uncommonly A-grade ensemble for such a grungy little piece of work.
    Michael S Super Reviewer

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