Delightfully entertaining and fun 4.5 Stars

Free Guy is a ray of entertaining sunshine. A hit at the box office just when theaters were desperate for a hit, a film that isn’t a superhero movie, a sequel, or an existing intellectual property. The game world adventure builds upon ideas we’ve seen explored in related ways but that doesn’t make this film any less refreshing. It has humor, heart, and an abundance of visual effects eye candy to keep things running at full speed for its runtime. Director Shawn Levy knows his way around warm stories supported by strong VFX (Real Steel, Night at the Museum) and he delivers here once again.

Free Guy (2021)
Released: 13 Aug 2021
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 115 min
Director: Shawn Levy
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi
Writer(s): Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
Plot: A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: 62

Disc Information
Studio: Fox
Distributed By: Disney
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 55 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: Standard 4k with sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 10/12/2021
MSRP: $29.99

The Production: 4.5/5

“Okay. I WANT to comply. I just find the order of those threats very confusing.”

Guy (Ryan Reynolds) lives a good life. He works in a bank, enjoys his morning coffee from the local barista, spends time with his best friend, buddy (Lil Rel Howery), and repeats his day the same way every day. He knows he lives in a world where there are heroes (they wear glasses) that can go anywhere they like and do anything, but when he sees Molotovgirl (Jodie Comer), he’s smitten. He doesn’t know that he’s just a background character in a virtual game, but his draw to Molotovgirl causes him to break his routine. He wants to help her with a mission she’s on to find proof that the game she wrote with her friend, Keys (Joe Keery), was stolen by Antwan (Taika Waititi) to make Free City. Out of his programmed routine he becomes a hero in the player community and beyond by being a good guy, helping others, and protecting the innocent. A threat to the Free City game, however, forces everything to change.

Free Guy is a genuine delight. There are bits and pieces we’ve seen before with DNA from films like Tron, The Lego Movie, and Ready Player One, but it’s all packaged and produced with fresh creativity and a stunning array of visual effects work that supports the action and the humor. Free Guy also offers something we don’t see much of in the theaters these days – unrelenting charm. The handful of cuss words make it a bit challenging for some family viewing, but the fun and moral of the story are broadly appealing and at the center of it all is the magnetic personality of Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds’ style of humor fits as perfectly here as it does when he plays the more brutal and adult Deadpool character. Honestly, I could watch Ryan Reynold’s do his thing in anything.

Along with Reynolds, the rest of the cast are excellent. Jodie Comer’s Millie (aka Molotovgirl) is a scene stealer. Taika Waititi’s Antwan is ridiculously villainous, a power-hungry narcissist who you enjoy watching him get his comeuppance and Waititi is particularly good. Lil Rel Howery as Guy’s buddy, Buddy, is fun though I wish he’d had a little more to do earlier in the film. And then there’s Jo Keery as Keys, co-creator of the original game code (along with Millie) stolen to make the game Free City. Keery, best known for his work on Stranger Things, is excellent here – likable, funny, interesting, and perfectly suited.

There’s a cameo I won’t spoil but it absolutely made my day. You’ll know it when you see it. Free Guy is just what the world needs right now, and I can see it becoming a favorite for many. It earns its PG-13 rating for language and some innuendo but is worth it.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Framed with its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, Free Guy is a winner in 4K. Filmed with Arri Alexa cameras (captured up to 6.5K), this is a film the 4K format was made for. Exceptional detail to be found from the source show off beautifully on UHD. Everything in the game world is bright and bold. The HDR10 grading brings out strong color contrast, black levels are superb, and the image is impossibly crammed with detail.

Even in the real world, the image is crisp and rich with detail, though not quite a sunshine bright. I can’t find fault with this image at all and it’s a great showcase for your 4K rig.

Audio: 5/5

Free Guy comes with a welcome and highly active Dolby Atmos track. The game world is filled with activity around the audio spectrum creating a fully immersive experience, especially when our main character is walking through the streets of Free City while action, explosion, and chaos go off around him. It’s a wonderful audio experience offering up sizable activity in the LFE, surrounds, and heights. Dialogue is clear from the center channel as usual. Special note of appreciation for Christophe Beck’s fun, active, and string-filled score for the emotional moments. It isn’t theme rich, but it sure does support the film. He also gets to play with some well-known tunes that should put a smile on your face.

Special Features: 3/5

Free Guy’s collection of special features all appear on the accompanying Blu-ray disc with this release.

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    • Guy and Buddy Hit the Beach
    • Hot Nuts Gets Blown
    • NPC Rally (Extended)
  • Gag Reel
  • Dude vs. Guy – Join Ryan Reynolds, director Shawn Levy and the creative and stunt teams as they reveal the innovative process of creating Free Guy’s ultimate showdown between Guy and the wildly amped-up, spray-tanned, frosted-tipped version of himself known as Dude.
  • Creating Molotovgirl – Jodie Comer transforms from a brilliant programmer to her fierce avatar in Free Guy. Watch as the award-winning action star and filmmakers deconstruct the conceptualization, evolution, and execution of bringing Molotovgirl to life.
  • It’s Taika’s World – Free Guy’s outrageous action may exist in a virtual world, but Taika Waititi makes the real world just as crazy with the over-the-top Antwan. See him at work in this entertaining showcase of a genuinely talented and hilarious performer.
  • Welcome to Free City – Delve into the reality-skewing universe that is Free City, as revealed by director Shawn Levy, the cast, and its inventive creative teams. Find out how they transformed a real metropolis into a virtual playground where anything is possible.

Overall: 4.5/5

Free Guy is a ray of entertaining sunshine. A hit at the box office just when theaters were desperate for a hit, a film that isn’t a superhero movie, a sequel, or an existing intellectual property. The game world adventure builds upon ideas we’ve seen explored in related ways but that doesn’t make this film any less refreshing. It has humor, heart, and an abundance of visual effects eye candy to keep things running at full speed for its runtime. Director Shawn Levy knows his way around warm stories supported by strong VFX (Real Steel, Night at the Museum) and he delivers here once again.

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Published by

Neil Middlemiss

editor

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