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Movie Review: Hammer Saves 'Free Fire' From Total Destruction

by Todd A. Smith

Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson and Armie Hammer (L-R) star in “Free Fire” (Photo Credit: Kerry Brown courtesy of A24).



Hammer Delivers Fire Performance 



Armie Hammer (“The Man From U.N.C.L.E”) is extremely underrated as an actor.

Sure, he has mastered serious and emotionally dramatic performances in films like “The Birth of a Nation,” “The Social Network” and “J. Edgar,” but in “Free Fire” he shows a new level of cool and comedic timing in a hot situation that many would get burned in.

In “Free Fire,” Ord (Hammer) has brokered a business meeting in a Boston warehouse between one gang that sells black market assault rifles and a rival crew in need of M-16s.

One crew is Irish and a White guy from South Africa leads the other crew.

Vernon (Sharlto Copley) leads the Irish crew, which includes Chris (Cillian Murphy), Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti).

In the middle as a possible mediator between the two is Justine (Brie Larson) and it is never totally clear which side she is more loyal to.

The cool, calm and calculated Martin (Babou Ceesay) and the offensive butt-hole Frank (Michael Smiley) lead the other crew.  They have the guns, but they also have extremely volatile members that might turn the meeting into a deadly ordeal.

The transaction should be a simple exchange, but “Free Fire” goes haywire when members of the rival crews discover that two of their members have a previous beef.   The deal for assault guns becomes a playground for serious gunplay.

Stevo has done something reprehensible to Harry’s cousin and his face has suffered for it.  If Harry (Jack Reynor) realizes that Stevo is in his presence, his whole body may also suffer for it physically.

To make matters worse, the two crews are not the only crews present during the transaction, and no one knows who to trust or how they will make it out of the warehouse alive.

“Free Fire” puts a Quentin Tarantino “Pulp Fiction”-like spin on the gangster genre.

In Ord, film writers Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley create a gangster who might actually be the coolest and calmest gangster in the history of American films.

When the other players in the deal are trying to fight for their life, Ord is firing up a joint and doing what he has to do in order to survive another day.

“Free Fire” is unique in a way that is similar to “Locke” in that most of the film takes place in one location.

While “Locke” takes place in an automobile, “Free Fire” takes place almost entirely in a deadly warehouse.

“Free Fire” is what happens when bumbling idiots try to become ruthless gangsters.  It probably ends well for absolutely no one.

While “Free Fire” has its humorous moments, it is not funny enough to make up for the lack of depth in the movie.

Two gangs meet up.

The business deal goes bad.

The mobs resort to gang violence.

Have you heard this story before?

Of course you have heard this story before.

Nevertheless, “Free Fire” might be worth the price of admission for Hammer’s laid back, cool performances as Ord.

Hammer is not box office gold right now.

However, it is only a matter of time before he is a bona fide box office star.








This article was published on Friday 21 April, 2017.
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