Free Guy (2021)

Free Guy (2021)

The Australian 4K release of Free Guy

Film: Ryan Reynolds is just a loveable hunk, right?

Whether or not he’s a good actor or not doesn’t matter, because basically he has mostly just played that loveable goofball, who has the heart of a hero. Whether it’s the guy from Deadpool, or the guy from Green Lantern, or the guy from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Shop, or in this film where he plays Guy, Reynolds has made a profession of being the world’s big brother, funny uncle and cool cousin all at once.

Now imagine if you could take Reynolds and stick him in a video game that is a mixture of Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto and The Sims, and mix it with movies like The Truman Show and Ready Player One, but make it palatable for anyone (mainly due to Reynolds charm, but also due to co-stars Taika Waititi’s comedy stylings, Jody Comer’s heroic violence, and maybe just a touch of teen heart-throb Joe Keery’s disarming inherent magnetism), and Free Guy is exactly what you’ve got.

Free Guy tells of Guy (Reynolds), a middle aged bank teller living in Free City, who longs to feel love. He’s generally happy with his life, tolerating the constant violence from the ‘sunglasses people’, who are ‘heroes’ who’s work he admires, even when they are robbing his bank or murdering his friends.

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his bestie Buddy (Lil Rel Howery)

The beautiful thing about Free City is no matter what happens, everyone comes back… because Guy is an NPC in a video game, and in video games, everyone gets a respawn, even the ‘sunglasses people’, who in reality, are players in our world.

The problem is, Guy doesn’t know he’s a video game character, and one day he sees the girl of his dreams, but molotovgirl (Comer) isn’t a computer game character, she’s one of us, but not just one of us, she’s a game programmer named Millie, who along with her programming partner, Keys (Keery) have had the code for a game they produced stolen by evil game designer Antwon (Waititi).

Millie has been regularly raiding the game to try and find evidence of this, but doing it solo. Guy manages to get his hands on a pair of sunglasses and finds that they reveal all the ‘gamification’ of the city, like power ups and missions, and very quickly he starts to level up to try and impress molotovgirl.

At first, Guy becomes an internet sensation with his heroic actions, but very soon Antwon decides it time to shut him down, because the ‘player’ shouldn’t be more important than the game, and with a sequel to his game on the rise, maybe it’s time to shut the old one down anyway…

It’s a massively fun movie, with both big laughs and a fair bit of warmth to it as well. It’s sardonic sideways look at the video game industry is a little scathing too, especially that of Antwon, who is clearly riffing on the douchebaggy Twitch streamer-types who seem to have the most popularity.

Having said that, the idea of a games developer being able to find their code by playing a game seems to be something that’s not real (I’m no games programmer so I can’t be sure) so there is a sense of disbelief required to enjoy this film.

The cast are perfect in their roles and play off each other wonderfully. There’s some surprises in here too, with several actual streamers turning up, like Pokimane and DanTDM, amongst others, and there is one special Marvel cameo towards the end that initially stuck out the the proverbial for me, but I grew to love.

The effects in this movie are excellent too. Free City feels like an established game with a huge population, with some people being really good at it, and the occasional filthy casual (which is essentially me online) just sucking. The effects of the world when one is wearing the glasses is probably over gamified, but it clearly is holding your hand so you can tell the difference between the NPCs and the players impression of the world. At times it feels like it might be a scathing look at the online committee of

All in all, Free Guy definitely deserves a watch if you like video games and want a laugh, or if you love the Reynolds or Waititi doing their things.

Score: ****1/2

The menu screen to the Australian 4K release

Extras: There aren’t any extras on the 4K disc, but thankfully the regular Bluray is included so the extras off that are present!

Deleted/ Extended Scenes as usual, the film doesn’t suffer for these scenes not being in the film, but I did like seeing director Levy as ‘Hot Nuts’ in a scene where his character is randomly killed by a player.

Gag Reel – somewhere along the lines, gag reels either got less funny or I lost part of ,y sense of humour, either way, there’s a couple of bits that will raise a smile, but no big guffaws, I’m afraid.

Dude vs Guy looks behind the scenes at the effects and choreography of the fantastic final battle between our hero, Guy versing the arch-nemesis that he didn’t even know he had, Dude, a muscular, half-programmed video game character who looks like the sexy, body-builder version of himself. Fascinating.

Creating Molotov Girl looks at the performance and creation of the two characters Jodie Comer creates, Molotov Girl in the game, and Millie, the real world character. Not just Comer’s performance, actually, but also character and costume and how they all create the persona in a film. There might be a little bit of a look at the psyche of gamers and how they become the perfect version of themselves, or a completely different version of themselves in video games.

It’s Taika’s World looks at the creation of Taika Waititi’s character, game designer, and evil villain, Antwan. For me this was the most fun I’ve ever had watching him act, as his performance of that douchebaggy successful nerd type is absolutely hilarious, and seeing where it came from here is amazing.

Welcome to Free City is an overview of what the film is about, the themes and the general production. It’s a typical hype thing but still quite engaging.

There’s also three trailers.

Score: *****

WISIA: This film has become one of my favourite, as a sci-fi, a comedy and as a video game inspired film, but I’m not sure how rewatchable it may be. I’ve watched it twice and feel like I don’t need to do it again. Time will tell, I guess.

The world of Free City through the lens of the players sunglasses.

This review was performed with the Australian 4K release of the film.

Week Ending 23rd December

A better weekly update of stuff this week with a great variety of stuff imvoleved, but first a small note. These weekly updates started on the Nerds of Oz website, but that is exclusively going to be for the podcast list from now, so technically this is the first TWP weekly buy update!

Movies


Grabbed four new movies this week.

The Mutilator from Arrow Video. Arrow video rarely disappoint, and I hope this will be just as trashy and slashy as their usual output!

All Through the House from Monster Pictures. Monster occasionally disappoint but I like how regular their output is and the price is occasionally right so I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt more often than not. Review coming soon.

Yoga Hosers from Reel DVD. Kevin Smith’s last few bits of output didn’t impress. His segment in ‘Holidays’ was the worst of them, and Tusk failed to entertain. I’ll be interested to see how this pans out. Review coming soon.


Last is an Australian bluray release of cult classic I Drink Your Blood! This limited edition comes with a repro of the VHS release, a ‘horror hypo’ and a sheet of I Drink Your Blood LSD sheets. Best thing about this release is it also comes with the films I Eat Your Skin and Blue Sextet! I love this film just because the exquisitely beautiful Lynn Lowry appears an a mute hippie!

Video Game


Watchdogs 2 from Ubi-soft. I liked the first one but wasn’t going to worry about this, but when EB Games discounted the edition with the statue, I leapt on it. I’ve played about 30 minutes, and totally dig it, though like with all video games, I’m not very good at it.

Comics


I haven’t quite gotten to read everything I grabbed this week, so some of these comments are about the art only, my apologies to the writers! I’ll point out which ones I managed to read before the blog post was published with a big ‘READ!’ before the comic’s comments.

READ! Red Sonja #0 from Dynamite.I’ve always loved Marvel’s re-do of Robert E. Howard’s Russian revolutionary character into Conan’s world, and the quality of art continues with this Dynamite collection. Unfortunately the story is a ‘person from the past gets sent to the future’ story, which is a bit generic, but if it opens some new opportunities for the character, I’ll at least give it a go.This was a ‘cheaper’ comic with not quite a full story, but with some cool sketchbook pages, and a buttload of adds!

READ! Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #5 from DC Comics. I’m really liking this series, and the fact it contains three of my favourite DC heroines doesn’t hurt. The quest for who is the new Oracle continues: it’s some really nice art with well written banter. Huntress has become particularly funny with her ‘should I kill him/her’ attitude.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #5 from DC Comics. I can’t comment on the quality of the writing in this series yet as I’ve not yet started reading it, but conceptually, the idea of a second rate Batman (in Red Hood), Wonder Woman(in Artemis) and Superman (with Bizarro) is both intriguing and hilarious. The art by Dexter Soy is solid too.

Suicide Squad #8 from DC Comics. Its Suicide Squad, and I have loved the Suicide Squad since the 80s when I first started reading it, and I grabbed the awesome alternate fractured Harley cover, so definitely loving it!

Supergirl #4 from DC Comics. I’m loving the TV series, so I thought I’d give the Rebirth Supergirl a go, just for nostalgia’s sake.

Superwoman #5 from DC Comics. I’ve never picked up an issue of this so I can’t make a comment on it at all yet, but this was bought due to the Supergirl TV series high as well!

READ! Hawkeye #1 from Marvel Comics. The re-sexing-of Marvel comics continues… only joking. I liked this character from the Young Avengers comics from a few years ago, and like the style of this comic. It’s a sweet mix of Alias, Veronica Mars and the New 52 Batgirl, and that ain’t a bad thing! I like the low key art, realistic with a David Lapham swagger to it, and the story is told efficiently with some smart dialogue.

 IVX #1 from Marvel Comics. Inhumans versus X-men is the new big thing for Marvel this season… I am wondering if they aren’t going to squeeze the X-men into a bunch of solo comics so the films don’t have to acknowledge their existence until Marvel movies regain control of the license. I will say though, a Marvel Universe with no Fantastic Four is no Marvel Universe in my books, not properly!

Books


The Art of Star Wars: Rogue One from Abrams. I can’t talk about this at all as I don’t open books about films until I’ve seen the film, so I’ll just say the price was right ($55 from Harry Hartogs) and it’ll look nice with my other ‘art of’ books.

Movie Merch


Normally I’d divide this up into it’s individual bits, but it’s ALL Assassin’s Creed so I thought I should share it! First is the book of the film, which I normally don’t open, like I said with the Rogue One book, but I couldn’t help but open this. It has some amazing pics from the film, and appears to be quite text heavy, so let’s hope it’s packed with information!

Next I have a couple of AC scotch glasses… I’d better start drinking scotch!


Lastly a couple of cosplay/ role play bits. A pretty cool Hidden Blade and a fancy Apple of Eden. Normally I would buy roleplay/ cosplay stuff but these are pretty cool!