Free Fire ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Lots of great, great off-the-cuff moments in this film — some lasting for minutes at a time, most for a single line, shot, or action — but not even close to being a cohesive whole. It's severely lacking in the spatial awareness corner — fast and frequent cuts for a catalog of medium close-ups is an interesting choice when your characters all occupy their own spaces within a giant warehouse — as well as the cast awareness corner — some characters have distinct, if exaggerated, personalities, while others serve as cast fodder and are forgotten for extremely long stretches of time before being given their dues on the screen.

A handful of characters come in to cause a ruckus when the main firefight begins to sputter, but they are disposed of quickly enough that I question whether they were even necessary to introduce. Even pure action flicks benefit from character-motivated fight progressions, and Free Fire missed an opportunity here by relying on external forces to drive things forward.

There's one aspect that's done fairly consistently well, and that's the audio mixing and awareness — lots of painfully-physical efforts and off-screen remarks, although, yes, it does suffer from Wheatley's affinity for bullet crackling and aversion to rhythmic Hawks-style overlapping dialogue. Still, it's a fun film that rides loose and plays off as a low-risk Friday night jam to pop into the VHS.