Free Fire Blu-ray Review: Pride and Stupidity Cometh Before the Fall

A hysterical showdown between gangs that couldn't shoot straight.
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Ben Wheatley's Free Fire is a hysterical shoot-'em up destined for cult status, because this slightly gruesome, black comedy is not for everyone.

The story centers around a gun deal in '70s Boston between two IRA members, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley), South African weapons dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley), their respective associates, and a couple of facilitators, like Justine (Brie Larson). Unfortunately for them (and lucky for us), her presence is unable to counteract all the testosterone. Tensions are continually on the rise, from the misunderstanding of smug Ord's (Armie Hammer) sense of humor to the wrong rifles being brought (M-16s were requested but AR70s are what is delivered).

The deal finally gets sorted out, but when two of the underlings, Stevo (Sam Riley) and Harry (Jack Reynor), reveal an ugly encounter the night before, tempers flare and guns are drawn, leading to an hour-long shoot-out with a barrage of bullets and insults flying around. None of the participants are great shots, leading to many non-lethal injuries. The situation gets worse when a heretofore unannounced third group of shooters hidden in the warehouse join the battle.

The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Shot predominantly within a warehouse, the lighting varies in the space, having an impact on the clarity of objects and backgrounds. The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The dialogue is clear, although the accents can get a little thick at times. Bullets ring out as they move across the speakers. The LFE delivers a good lower end to the proceedings.

The extras include a Commentary with director Ben Wheatley, and actors and Cillian Murphy amd Jack Reynor. The trio have a lot of fun reminiscing about the film. “The Making of Free Fire” (HD, 16 min) is a typical piece about the film with the cast all singing the Wheatley's praises.

Free Fire is a film I recommend and will certainly be revisiting for the perverse pleasure it delivers.

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