Taking place inside a fictional video game world. Guy or Blue Shirt Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is blissfully unaware that he is an non player character (NPC) within Free City. His mundane life consists of being interrupted by sunglasses wearing people (human players) who blow up everything, kill everyone and rob the bank he works in on a daily basis. Guy like all other NPCs is accepting of this as it’s the norm in Free City. His life suddenly changes however when he meets Molotov Girl (a human player) and falls in love. Will he get the girl and save Free City before the servers are shut down? Let’s get into it
Little Town Hero
This is a weird one. The concept itself is genius. Going inside a video game where the NPCs believe they are real and go about their day to day while human players absolutely run amok. Think GTA online and you’ll be close to the level of carnage and bombastic explosions which have become a part of every day life for the people of Free City. We’ve had gaming movies before with similar concepts (Wreck-it-Ralph, Gamer, Ready Player One) but where this movie shines is in the visuals. They went with real actors and sets once the camera goes inside the video game world and I’m sure there is an above healthy amount of CGI in play here but it all looks really impressive. It’s kind of like if you took a Matrix movie….added jokes and made the setting Grand Theft Auto Online. A fresh take and a brilliant set up for an anything goes kind of comedy.
It goes without saying that this is Ryan’s project. He really has hit his stride in recent years settling into the role of comedic action star. The character of Guy allows for some really earnest cheesy lines which Ryan delivers with confidence and gusto. This hopeful hero has a level of innocence to him which makes him very difficult to dislike. His upbeat optimism is infectious. Towards the end of the movie, just like the people of Free City, you’ll be routing for Guy to save the world and get the girl!
Beyond Two Souls
I can’t talk about Ryan without mentioning Jodie Comer. At it’s heart, this movie is about romance. The on screen chemistry between Ryan and Jodie is very apparent and they work really well together. Jodie has shown her acting chops and incredible range as in actor in small screen ‘Killing Eve’ (not to mention her talents at many accents) and really shines here on the big screen. Her in-game avatar Molotov Girl and her real world persona Milly are both very likeable and she really nails this part. Juggling heavy action with comedic timing and heartfelt moments of sincerity with impressive aplomb. I believe Jodie’s career may launch into the stratosphere very soon…..watch out Hollywood!
You can’t have an action adventure without a leading villain and Taika Waitiki also brings his A-game to the role of Antwan. A blend of one liners, trending buzz words and relentless ego and greed. Taika epitomizes everything wrong with the Gaming industry today. He is meant to be a satirical caricature of a typical greedy CEO and he plays the part expertly. Maniacally evil but still manages to make audiences smile with his ridiculous rhyming quips and body language. What can I say, he’s a hard guy not to like. One thing I would have loved to see, would be his character within Free City as I’ve seen from interviews how good a comedic pairing he and Reynolds are. Would be fun to see them riffing off each other but perhaps they’re saving that for Free City 2 or some later DLC!
Goods actors, great concept, solid action, great humor and decent CGI can only get you so far. In most films they get you to the credits but Free Guy adds a little more. I think the great concept would have worn thin if it wasn’t for the underlying themes. To put simply, this movie has heart. It’s about hope, love and friendship. It’s about breaking free and living your best life. It’s full of genuine feel good moments and as it gathers momentum in the last third, it’s hard not to love! The famous you-tuber cameos plus the ‘I can’t believe it’ cameos but the hundreds of gaming references and the people around the world routing for blue shirt guy is totally infectious. This is a bright hopeful movie to cheer us up. It’s simple but brilliant. In a time of Covid and restrictions, this is the kind of movie we desperately need.
So grab a popcorn, set your mouth mode to smile and enjoy this adventure in Free City. Remember folks, don’t have a good day….have a great day!!
And yes…all the headings are game titles! What did you love about the movie? Would you like to see a sequel? Let me know in the comments below.