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Free Fire review: Shoot out that finds the target

 

By Damon Smith

Chris (Cillian Murphy) and fellow Irishman Frank (Michael Smiley) need to source several cases of M16 rifles to arm their IRA comrades.

They head to an abandoned warehouse to complete a deal flanked by hired muscle Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) and Stevo (Sam Riley), under the escort of suave American middle-man Ord (Armie Hammer) and his sassy associate, Justine (Brie Larson).

The exchange goes sour when Vernon (Sharlto Copley) attempts to palm off AR-70 assault rifles in place of the promised weapons.

Free Fire is an entertaining shoot-out set in a 1978 Boston warehouse that draws blood with breathless action sequences as well as verbal grenades.

Copley overacts with wild abandon, largely to comic effect, while Murphy and Larson spark a simmering on-screen chemistry that thankfully never boils over into a superfluous dalliance.

The free-for-all becomes wearisome before the final bullet reaches its intended target, and subplots sometimes feel contrived, but as an exercise in controlled mayhem, director Ben Wheatley's film hits more than it misses.

Three stars

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