It’s not every day I feel so strongly about seeing a movie that I go to the theater by myself because nobody wanted to go see it with me. It was actually a great experience and I’ll probably do it more often- $6.50 for a Sunday morning ticket? that’s a bargain! No lines or crowds? that’s awesome!

Why did I feel like Free Fire was a must watch? Well it has a lot of things that piqued my interest. First of all I love Brie Larson and Armie Hammer, and I’m a big fan of unnecessary violence in action movies (I’m a guy). But more importantly it was clear from the trailer that the entire movie took place in this warehouse… which I find very exciting as a fake critic. It’s an exercise in creativity when you limit your film to a single location. One of my favorite examples of this was Phone Booth. I’m a sucker for choices that are made to intentionally make things more difficult. Sure, it’s technically easier for the filmmakers to produce the movie in one location (especially a warehouse), but its so much harder to create a good story with character and plot depth if you’ve limited yourself to one particular location and time. Normally I’d lean towards “this might suck” but when the executive producer is Martin Scorsese- that’s all the credibility I need to give it a chance. Never doubt Marty, even though he was responsible for Silence.
Ok, now for my review….

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Not great. Not bad either. It was officially “meh” until further notice.
Best case scenario for this is it will end up being one of those college dorm cult classics in a few years. Maybe it needs to be seen a few times in order to really soak up the details and appreciate the complex/evolving character roles throughout the movie. Even though it started off with 2 groups shooting at each other, it quickly devolved into smaller groups and then a couple people shooting their own groups and then everyone working together to eliminate another problem only to go right back to fighting each other once that problem was resolved….. it was chaos, and I don’t mean that in good way.

SPOILERS ahead, obviously. Listed in random thoughts.

  • Why the hell was this set in 1978 Boston? I was shocked to find that out after seeing it. It no way did it reference the location, at least not in an obvious way. I suppose 1978 makes sense with the IRA illegally buying guns, but I think that just happened to be a convenient excuse to use the 70’s clothes, music, and graphics in promotions. For the record- the 70’s style worked really well.
  • The accents were brutal. Maybe they were accurate, but I could’ve used subtitles a few times.
  • I couldn’t keep track of counting shots, nor did I attempt, but it got to be ridiculous. They showed these guys constantly reloading their hand guns, but at some point you have to question how many boxes of bullets they have in their pockets.
  • I know we’re doing the whole suspension of disbelief thing, but how many times can you get shot in the legs before you bleed out? How about the head? Because if a bullet hitting me results in a piece of my brain hitting the floor, I don’t think I’m getting up. (PS of course it was the black guy who died first. Classic 70’s movie rules, glad they focused on the details)
  • Why didn’t anyone just say “hey we’re all getting pretty fucked up. Nobody wants to be here. How about we just call it a day?” Because after a couple people died, that’s all anybody was thinking.
  • In the last 3 minutes they revealed it was Brie and the black guy who orchestrated the whole ambush, she killed the last 2 guys, got the money, and was promptly arrested. After an hour and a half of shooting and yelling, someone decided “yeah that’s enough” and put a bow on it to close it out. Not really a top notch ending.

In the end there just wasn’t enough development. It felt like someone said “hey lets make a movie where a gun deal goes bad and everyone shoots each other” and didn’t put much more thought into it than that. It was flashy, exciting, and had some solid humor here and there, but the best decision they made was keeping it under 90 minutes. If it were any longer I would’ve been getting bored.

Critic Rating: 65%
Entertainment Score: 4.1/5 Popcorns

For what it’s worth: I will totally watch this over and over again when it gets released on HBO, which by the looks of things could be as early as next month. The theater I watched it in was almost entirely empty. Only 7 other people there. I know it was a lazy Sunday morning, but I had to walk all the way down the hall to theater #12 out of 12. The smallest one they had. The last one, which is usually reserved for movies on the fringe of getting booted. This was evidently the case nationwide, as you can see with this weekend’s box office numbers:

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17th overall? Last among new releases? ONLY $1M GROSS??? This is going to go down in the books as a flop with a capital F.

Sorry Brie. You didn’t deserve this.