5 Ways to Prep: Free Fire
By George Rose
April 20, 2017
So why am I recommending this movie to you? Just because a director makes a bad movie doesn’t mean they will all be bad. Given the actors involved, it is still the most realistic suggestion I could make for you since there is no way in hell you’re going to watch the rest of Ben Wheatley’s British back catalog of films. And, if I’m being perfectly honest, High-Rise got me laid. My fiancée and I were so bored watching this nonsense and were only remotely interested when people were having completely unnecessary sex, so we started having sex ourselves. The best way to go to a movie and enjoy yourself is to “shoot your gun off” beforehand. So if you want to best position yourself to enjoy Free Fire, you should watch High-Rise to unload some of those bullets built up in your pants so you can relax and enjoy Free Fire without getting the raging testosterone boner that I usually get when I’m pumped up during an action movie.
4) Unknown (2006)
It’s official; movies released in 2015 are now just like Katherine Heigl because I’m done with them! Time to move on, back to a time when people said things like “direct-to-DVD” instead of “digital download.” Granted, I didn’t see Unknown in 2006, but that’s when it was released. A few years ago, I worked at a car insurance company and wanted to kill myself every day. What saved my sanity was a coworker of mine that also loved movies. We developed a great friendship, doing weekly trips to Best Buy to purchases the latest Blu-rays and went to all the early Marvel movies together. It was the kind of crazy friendship that had us drinking at 10 a.m. before going to see Iron Man 3 and then peeing in the theater because I didn’t want to miss a single scene. We didn’t just both love Marvel; we both also loved horror movies. Not just popular horror movies but those laughable B-movie and all the way to F-movie horror classics like The Collector, Dead Snow and Creature. We must have seen almost a hundred movies together in theaters and at home over the years and one of those films was Unknown.
Starring Jim Caviezel, Greg Kinnear and Bridget Moynahan, it had enough star power to get our attention and an interesting enough plot to give it a shot. Five guys wake up in a warehouse without their memory. They come to find out something horrible has happened and the people responsible are on their way back to the warehouse. The real trouble here is that we know of these five men, some are good and some are bad but not even they know the truth with their current amnesia. This leads to both fights amongst themselves and the fight for the truth. It’s less of a horror movie and more of a thriller, but when you used to drink as much as my friend and I, you didn’t always shoot the dart and hit the center of the target with perfect accuracy. Not every film was great and not every film was the horror movie we were hoping for.
However, it’s not a terrible movie. Sure, the actors aren’t exactly bankable, the movie never got a wide release in theaters and it has pretty bad reviews, but with the right amount of alcohol and the right friend by your side, Unknown proved to be quite the passable movie and one worth a watch if you find yourself bored. People died in interesting enough ways and it showed what kind of thrilling action can take places in the confines of a warehouse. What little I know about Free Fire suggests most of the movie will be set in a similar location. Hopefully the director sticks less to his “visionary” flare and more to the interesting possibilities that are available when you take a handful of talent and lock them up together in a room with a couple of guns.
5) Reservoir Dogs (1992)
There are a few things I have to admit. One, I love Quentin Tarantino. Two, I only love what I have seen of his and I have not seen everything, which I guess makes me a “bad” movie fan. Three, I’m 31-years-old. so I’ve seen more than some of you youngsters and less than some of you older farts. In 1992 I was only seven years old. There’s no way my parents were going to let me see Tarantino’s directorial debut. Oh, and number four, I must admit that while I love movies, I love moving forward with movies, not backwards. I tend not to like older movies. I’ve seen tons of movies but I don’t backtrack too often. Yes, I’ve seen Star Wars and Indiana Jones and a bunch of ‘80s stuff but by the time I was old enough to see a R-rated movie, I was eighteen and the year was 2003. I was more likely to see a new R-rated movie than go back and watch Reservoir Dogs. However, I came of age just in time for the release of Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” in 2003 and I was the better off for it.
I was OBSESSED with the Kill Bill movies and, based solely off those two classics, declared myself a Tarantino fanatic. Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained were both great, prompting me to finally go backwards and watch Tarantino’s second film, Pulp Fiction, almost 20 years after it came out. But I never did see Reservoir Dogs. In fact, I still haven’t even though I’m recommending it to you now. The reason for that is when reading the reviews for Free Fire I noticed many of them suggest similarities to Reservoir Dogs in both tone and quality. Since all those fancy professional movie critics mention it, I guess it stands to reason it would make a good addition to a list of movies you should see before Free Fire. This list isn’t just for you guys, it’s for me too!
I wish I could have faith in the theory that “I liked every movie I saw from Tarantino so far so I’ll probably like that one too.” I have faith I’ll like Reservoir Dogs, despite my general lack of interest in movies from long ago, because I like Tarantino. But they compared Tarantino’s work to Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire and I did not like the work of Wheatley’s that I saw. So, the theory of “if you liked everything so far from one director that means you’ll like his unseen work” can’t be true. There’s a chance I could like Free Fire and I really hope that I do, since mindless comedic action is a genre I love immensely. But I haaaaaaated High-Rise, and if Free Fire is anything like that movie and Reservoir Dogs is anything like Free Fire then maybe I don’t like Tarantino as much as I think I do. Either way, critics suggest similarities between the two (both deal with deceit among a merry band of criminals) and Tarantino so far has a good track record with me so I’ll be giving Reservoir Dogs” a fair shot sometime soon.
And there you have it, my friends, the five movies I recommend you see before seeing Free Fire. The movie has a lot of promise. So far it sits at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes which is pretty good for the genre; it has a great cast of talented actors and an Oscar winning actress; it’s made by an independent studio so there could be risks not usually taken that could lead to great action rewards; and it’s better than paying the ticket price to watch Pandas you could see on TV or Katherine Heigl continue to embarrass herself. Check back again next week as I enjoy one final week of garbage movies to prep for before the summer movie season kicks off and I’ll have at least three months of consistent blockbuster entertainment to make recommendations for.