We’re in 1970s Boston. A couple of local idiots, one of them bruised and sore from a recent brawl, have been hired by some visiting Irishmen as extra muscle for an arms deal and are on their way to where the exchange is due to take place. They arrive at the abandoned warehouse where it’s all set to happen and are met by the Irishmen (Cillian Murphy and Michael Smiley) and a girl called Justine (Brie Larson), a fixer who has helped to setup the deal. Justine’s counterpart arrives (Armie Hammer) and escorts them into the warehouse where they meet the unpleasant, but totally hilarious arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley). The deal gets underway but doesn’t go well when it transpires that the guns Vernon has brought along are not the ones that were ordered. Vernon manages to wise talk his way out of it but then, during the unloading of the guns, it’s discovered that one of Vernon’s guys has a bit of a grudge with one of the guys on the other side of the deal. Attempts to diffuse the situation fail, a shot is fired, things really kick off.
As both parties scatter to take cover, bullets begin to fly. Ricocheting off the brick and metal within the warehouse, a few guys are hit early on, then hit again and you soon begin to wonder if some of them are indestructible! Every once in a while the noise and bullets stop, dust settles, and everyone takes some time out to assess the situation. And also to engage in some very funny piss taking and banter! The sharp, witty dialogue between the characters is definitely the best thing about Free Fire and manages to save it from becoming too monotonous as the gunfire rages on and on and on. Sharlto Copley is in danger of stealing the show on many occasion, with pretty much everything he says generating a laugh. But everyone here manages to get their fair share and the movie is peppered with some genuinely laugh out loud moments.
Eventually, pretty much everyone is injured so badly that they can only drag themselves around the floor. It seems the only way anyone is going to get out of this mess is if somebody can make it upstairs to the only phone in the warehouse and call for backup and it’s at that point that the movie regularly finds itself in danger of hitting a lag. However, it’s never too long before the pace shifts up a gear once more and there are plenty of fun twists and turns with alliances being formed, and then quickly broken. At only 90 minutes long, Free Fire manages to prove itself to be a brisk, intelligently engineered and highly enjoyable piece of action.