Review of 'Free Guy'

free_guy.jpg Guy (Ryan Reynolds) works as a bank teller in Free City - A rather eventful place where action is non-stop as he steps over a body that flies through the window of a convenience store like clockwork every morning. When Guy hears a woman, Millie aka “Molotov Girl” (Jodie Comer), walking down the street humming a song he has only heard in his dreams his life changes. When his bank is robbed yet again he deviates from his normal “lay down on the ground” routine and confronts the hapless robber, putting on his glasses. Immediately a dazzling display of statistics and information appears before his eyes and he comes to realize he is a “Non Player Character” (RPC) in a video game. Meeting Millie again she believes him to be real-life game player “Blue Shirt Guy” and tells him to “level up” before she will speak to him again. Guy takes this advice to heart and begins to amass points in the game not by the violence typical of most players but by doing good things, becoming a viral sensation in the real world. We learn Millie is one of the designers of the AI simulation that “Free City” was based on which was sold to arrogant media mogul Antwan (Taika Waititi) who is now eager to push a new version of the game that uses none of the simulation code. As Guy continues to act more and more human Millie realizes the game cannot be shut down as this would be the end of Guy…

A bit like a reverse “Truman Show”, “Free Guy” is a lot of fun and looks great on the big screen. Hilariously, the video game violence and action is ignored for much of the film as it is simply normal to those that inhabit the world. There is a heck of a lot of action here doing a great attempt at reproducing the likes of “Grant Theft Auto” though, thankfully, without the sexual violence of that game. “Free Guy” is a modern drama in attempting to address issues of what exactly it means to be human though much less nuanced is (sigh) the big-baddie Antwan determination to (sigh) make money by stopping Guy at all costs. Reynolds is his typical anti-hero self though here very much on the side of “good” with his trade-mark one-liners in an innocent persona that greatly amuses but does get a bit tiresome after an hour or so. What is definitely a highlight of the film was the ending that satisfactorily brings to a conclusion all that has come before (though it is a bit too “Hollywood” for my taste).

Good big-screen Hollywood action with a heart and one of the hottest stars of modern cinema.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-09-05

Directed by: Shawn Levy

Studio: 20th Century Studios

Year: 2021

Length: 115 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Shawn Levy: