Free Guy: Film Review

Free Guy

20th Century Studios

Free Guy is one of the movies I’d been most excited about this year and while I enjoyed it a lot, I must admit it was nowhere near as amazing as I’d expected it to be.

Ryan Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller who is a non-player character (NPC) in the video game Free City, which is basically like Grand Theft Auto, with muggings, shootings, car chases and bank robberies occurring on the reg. One day, Guy somehow breaks free from his programming and takes on a life of his own when he meets Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer). She is the avatar of Millie, who is trying to find proof that Free City’s creator Antwan (Taika Waititi) stole her and Keys’ (Joe Keery) AI tech to make his game. Guy, who thinks she’s the love of his life, joins her mission.

First of all, I absolutely adore the original concept of Free Guy – thinking of these games from the perspective of a background character is genius! – and I was hyped to see how it would play out. It is very funny and I laughed out loud often, but still not as much as I’d hoped. The jokes don’t always land and I think Reynolds’ shtick is getting a bit old. I particularly enjoyed the beginning, where we are introduced to Guy, his world and his routine, and the final act, where director Shawn Levy makes use of Disney’s wealth of IP to glorious clap-worthy effect.

Reynolds is clearly having a lot of fun as Guy but there are also limits to what he can do within the constraints of his naive and always chipper character. Even though Reynolds is a fantastic Deadpool, I wish he would stop playing Deadpool when he’s supposed to be other characters or at least tries to be a little more different. The opening narration of Free Guy could easily be taken from a Deadpool movie, without a doubt.

My favourites were Comer and Keery. Comer gets to show off her range by playing two characters – her feisty and badass avatar and the very normal Millie – and she delivers on the action star front as well as the very relatable human front. I really liked Keery as her professional partner and conflicted tech nerd and I want to see him in more projects. Waititi throws his all into the douchey Antwan and his larger-than-life performance was pretty grating, but I imagine that’s the whole point. I also enjoyed Lil Rel Howery as Guy’s NPC friend Buddy and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Keys’ colleague Mouser.

Free Guy – which might make you think of films such as The Truman Show and Ready Player One – is littered with Easter eggs and cameos that certainly make a case for a second viewing. I loved a lot of the ideas and it is visually astounding, but I wanted the film to be amazing and it’s just quite good, which is a real bummer.

In cinemas now

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard: Film Review

The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard

Courtesy of Lionsgate

I didn’t have particularly high hopes for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard because of A) the hideous title and B) the first one not being very good, so I wasn’t all that surprised when it turned out be pretty naff.

Following on from the events of the 2017 movie, this sequel begins with Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) coming to terms with losing his AAA security licence and taking a much-needed break, but his peace is interrupted by con woman Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) who tracks him down and asks for his help rescuing her husband, hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), who has been taken by mobsters. However, they are all captured by Interpol agent Bobby O’Neill (Frank Grillo), who forces them to take down shipping tycoon Aristotle Papadopoulus (Antonio Banderas), a criminal mastermind planning to destroy the European power grid.

If you saw the first movie, which was loud, over-the-top and all over the place, then you have a good idea of what to expect from this instalment – it’s basically more of the same but with Hayek in a leading role instead of a minor one like before. It is brash, violent, messy and excessive, with director Patrick Hughes trying to cram in as many shootouts, explosions, and swearing as possible into this movie. It’s like he just decided to go for quantity over quality and threw in every idea.

You don’t really need to pay much attention to the plot because it’s incredibly silly, cliched and lazy and just a basic framework on which to hang all the yelling, insults, profanity and action sequences. It feels like the producers didn’t really have a story for the sequel so just cobbled together something so they could fulfil the requirements of “Guns! Action! Swearing! Explosions!” We’re somehow expected to believe that Aristotle wants to destroy the grid and data centre in retaliation for the European Union imposing sanctions on Greece. Errr, OK?! That seems a bit extreme. Plus, Banderas neither looks or sounds remotely Greek.

Not all the comedy works and that’s largely down to the weak script and the fact it relies too heavily on the belief that people yelling expletives at each other is funny. It can be on occasion and it made me laugh a few times (mostly in the beginning), but the novelty wears off quickly.

Reynolds carries the movie and does exactly what you’d expect Reynolds to do in a Reynolds film considering his performances are the same in everything. He is the funniest member of the cast, possibly because his brand of humour is different to his co-stars – he doesn’t rely on profanity or yelling – and he has brilliant reaction faces.

Hayek made me laugh a fair bit too but her character is just so loud and brash and OTT. However, I will praise her for throwing her all into the part, which is more than can be said for Jackson, who phones it in. I found it bizarre that Banderas was cast as a Greek character but I loved his outfits and he was suitably camp. Morgan Freeman makes a small appearance for comedy purposes but otherwise doesn’t make much of an impact. I was excited to see how Richard E. Grant, who is in the first film, would appear in this follow-up and his cameo is ridiculously brief.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is lazy, cliched and filled with stereotypical one-note characters and action sequences that are edited in a messy way. Admittedly, it doesn’t take itself seriously or pretend to be anything more than it is – a mindless popcorn flick – so remember to switch your brain off at the door.

In cinemas now

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – Film Review

Given how nerdy I can be, you might be quite shocked to learn that I did not grow up a Pokémon fan – I didn’t trade cards, I didn’t play the video games or Pokémon Go and I haven’t watched any of the shows and films. Detective Pikachu is my first real Pokémon experience and I’m here to tell you that newbies can enjoy it too.

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Top Cinema Releases in May

It’s the start of May tomorrow which means it’s time to look ahead to the films I’m excited to see over the next month – and there are loads to choose from. Here are my top picks!

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Deadpool 2: Film Review

Big shocker: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Deadpool. I liked it just fine, but people started freaking out and saying how awesome it was and I just didn’t get it. That’s why I didn’t go in with the greatest expectations for the sequel – and I was right. It is, again, just fine, but not as good as the first.

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Top films for May

It’s the start of the month which means it’s time to look ahead to all the wonderful cinema releases coming our way in May. Here are my top picks:

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard: Film Review 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is one of those films that are so difficult to review because you just don’t know what to make of it. It is so thoroughly inconsistent – great one minute and really bad the next – that is really is a headscratcher.

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Life (2017): Film Review

When Life was first announced, I groaned because the sci-fi genre has been done to death recently and I didn’t think we needed a new space movie. It isn’t original by any means but it is still a very enjoyable and seriously intense thriller.

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Golden Globes nominations 2017: The comedy/musical section is obsolete

deadpool

The Golden Globe nominations came out today and you can read the full list here. The reason the Golden Globes annoy me is because they divide all the acting categories between drama and musical/comedy and frankly, there hasn’t been enough awards-worthy roles in the latter so it’s been filled with some questionable entries. Surely it’s time to just combine all the movie acting categories?

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Criminal: Film Review

Kevin Costner’s latest action thriller is batshit crazy and unintentionally hilarious but so completely entertaining, mostly at its own expense.

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