Title – Free Guy (2021)
Director – Shawn Levy (Real Steel)
Cast – Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Taika Waititi, Joe Keery
Plot – Friendly bank teller and Free City resident Guy (Reynolds) discovers that he is in fact an NPC in an online video game after he strikes up a friendship with the girl of his dreams (Comer).
“Don’t have a good day, have a great day”
Review by Eddie on 20/08/2021
There’s been a long and storied history of bad video game movies, movies that tried to recapture the magic of pixelated form into something that was going to keep fans and newbies alike happy but for one reason or another failed in their mission to turn gaming greatness into a film of quality.
In what is a major win for the film, Shawn Levy’s Free Guy thankfully does an amazing job of capturing the video game magic that many gamers feel when they log into their game/system of choice and enter into a world that provides endless hours of entertainment and there’s no denying that when Free Guy is focused more around its video game origins this is one of the most enjoyable Hollywood films of the season but sadly the film is lumped with a trite plot line that feels like a poor man’s Truman Show, one that takes away from all the chaotic fun it had at its disposal.
Creating yet another chance for its star Ryan Reynolds to bring out his Deadpool act for a more wider ranging audience, Free Guy see’s the content to coast along actor bring NPC (non playable character) Guy to life as his happy go lucky bank teller finds out his idyllic yet repetitive life is in fact nothing but a program for a game he is only just made aware of and is very much a part of, its a familiar set up in a colorful and chaotic world yet while it roars along for the first act, Free Guy sadly becomes a lame and tiresome love/life affirming journey that in many instances is too preachy where it should have been pure sugar coated silliness.
There’s moments within the film that are exactly what the doctor ordered, Guy waltzing the streets for the first time with the game around him made alive or a hilarious fight with a quickly programed muscle clad opponent (“catchphrase”) are brilliantly staged and inventive but Guy’s awkward romance with Jodie Comer’s Molotov Girl/Millie is not what the film needed, especially when billed alongside the films insistence on providing life lessons or by somehow making Taika Waititi utterly unfunny and annoying as he gets little too do as the films shoehorned in villain Antwan.
Never the most original of directors, you wish a director with more willingness to stray from the usual had perhaps brought Free Guy to life other than Levy, while the action and spectacle is all on point, there’s something wrong with what Free Guy wants to be and what it ends up becoming, a mix of brilliant video game to life moments lost in a terrible story with a bunch of characters and happenings that are instantly forgettable.
Final Say –
A frustrating experience that does a lot right bringing the video game culture to cinema but also a lot poorly when it comes to story and characters, Free Guy has some fantastic components caught up in a generic ride that isn’t worth a second thought.
2 1/2 boiled turkeys out of 5