By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I am not a “gamer” by any means. In fact, the last video game I played was Pac-Man from back in the day. However, that didn’t keep me from laughing quite a bit while watching Ryan Reynolds’
new, video game comedy, “Free Guy.”
Directed by Shawn Levy (TV’s “Stranger Things”) and written by Matt Lieberman (“The Addams Family”) and Zak Penn (“Ready Player One”), “Free Guy” is definitely targeted toward video game enthusiasts who will no doubt catch all the jargon and appreciate the cameo appearances from gamers and streamers like Jacksepticeye, Ninja, Pokimane, DanTDM and LazarBeam, who I didn’t know.
I do know Reynolds and Lil Rel Howery
are quite the duo in this geeky and silly mash-up that borrows from movies such as “Ready Player One, “Wreck-it Ralph” and even “Tron.”
In “Free Guy” the video game is called Free City. It’s a bustling and gritty place. Reynolds plays the strait-laced and always optimist Guy. He lives in blue shirts and Khakis. Guy’s morning routine begins with eating a bowl of cereal, grabbing the same coffee from his favorite barista while walking to his bank teller job at Free City Bank.
Getting to work is a real battle as Guy is often attacked and beaten by thugs and shady characters. The reason? Well, he’s one of the NPCs (non-playable characters) in this Grand Theft Auto-style video game that’s driven by the real-world violent players/gamers.
The rules are that NPCs can’t interact with people wearing sunglasses /actual players. There’s a robbery every day at the bank. Everyone inside knows the drill including the bank security guard Buddy (a funny Lil Rel Howery, “Space Jam: A New Legacy”) who is also Guy’s best friend.
Guy wonders if there is more to this repetitive and dangerous life. He finds out in a major way when he meets Millie/Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer, TV’s “Killing Eve”), who was created by one of the game’s founders named Keys (Joe Kerry, TV’s “Stranger Things”).
Their journey together could save Free City and be a real game-changer providing they can convince the rest of the NPCs that they can shake out of this “Groundhog Day” routine and at last be free.
First, they must somehow stop the greedy and corrupt gaming mogul, Antwan (a very funny Taika Waititi, “The Suicide Squad”) who in the real world owns Soonami Studios, the distributor of Free City. Millie believes that Antwan has stolen their codes and plans to release a gaming sequel.
Some of the movie’s most action-packed and funnier moments involve Reynold’s head superimposed onto world-class body-builder Aaron W. Reed’s chiseled physique. There are other familiar faces too including a hilarious cameo from Channing Tatum. (“The Lost City of D”).
“Free Guy” is full of surprises and surprisingly a lot more fun than you might expect.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "FREE GUY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.