Free Fire is a new shoot ’em up from the prolific, terrific and often horrific Ben Wheatley. Set in 1978, the movie concerns an arms deal that goes south faster than Donald Trump’s approval ratings.
Wheatley and regular co-writer Amy Jump jump straight into the action, unleashing a gleefully fun shoot-out in a warehouse, involving a truckload of guns, a suitcase full of money and an 8-track of John Denver.
The participants include Pete Doherty lookalike Sam Riley, cucumber-cool Cillian Murphy and Room‘s Brie Larson, who should feel at home doing some more acting in a room.
But it’s the hilarious Sharlto Copley who steals the spotlight, seemingly channelling Rhys Darby. Despite their similar accents originating from totally different parts of the planet, it’s strangely like watching Murray from Flight of the Conchords trying to negotiate an arms deal.
Self-contained and knowingly funny, the movie plays out like a pastiche of pastiche-merchant Quentin Tarantino. All that’s missing is the jukebox soundtrack, but you can see why they’d want to avoid total devotion to Tarantino’s style.
Unashamedly fun throughout its lean running time, Free Fire is at the more throwaway end of Wheatley’s stellar body of work. But it’s a stimulating 90 minutes for those who like their action violent and their comedy… violent.
Explosive and eccentric, Free Fire is a Tarantino-esque fairground ride: Reservoir Dodgems.