Spoilers wear sunglasses at night.
Movies about video games are not new. However, I have to admit that Ryan Reynolds sold me on how fun this feature was going to be. Lately it seems he can do no wrong. The casting is top notch, the performance are quite decent and you’ll be cheering for the NPCs (non-playable characters) in no time. This one might be popcorn fare, but it’s very entertaining.
Free Guy (2021) is directed by Shawn Levy based on a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn. In the world of Free City, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) is a bank teller with the same routine, the same catchphrase and used to hitting the floor every day the bank is being robbed, which is every day. His best friend, security guard Buddy (Lil Rel Howery), is also used to making no resistance while robbers come and go.
That’s because, unbeknownst to both of them, they’re NPCs (non-playable character) in a video game. But Guy seems to be ready to break the pattern after meeting his idea of a perfect woman, a player named MolotovGirl who is really Millie (Jodie Comer), a former game developer. Millie and Keys (Joe Keery) originally developed a game AI that Millie suspects Free City’s inventor Antwan (Taita Waikiki) stole their code and that the proof is in the game. Keys is not convinced as he keeps working for Antwan and tries to bring Guy down once he starts acting like an actual player.
Why does this work? Well, there’s a lot riding on the performance of Ryan Reynolds as the titular Guy. He’s positive, he’s optimistic and once he breaks free of his usual routine he’s actually a lot of fun to watch. There’s a thinly veiled message against conformity in this film, and to its merit the film tries to go somewhat further with it than expected. The emphasis, however, is on making the journey fun and the film is not above adding some game tropes that online players will instantly recognize.
Highly recommended for a fun watch. There’s a little message, but the emphasis is on fun so if you’re willing to pick up on the fun little easter eggs that are happening in the background and foreground, you’ll be fine. It does get a little bit busy sometimes, but Reynolds does put one a fun performance that will keep you watching, as well as Waikiki which excels at playing the villain. Well worth a watch.
That will do for now.