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Free Guy - 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

Free Guy

What if all the non-playable characters (NPCs) in video games – the background characters controlled by the game's artificial intelligence (AI) rather than by a gamer – suddenly broke out and began taking control of their own destinies? Would anyone play a video game that awards points for being nice rather than for racking up a massive kill count?

"Not only do the pair excel in world-building and storytelling, their sweet love story packs quite a wallop as well"


These are the thoughts and inspirations behind Shawn Levy’s outrageously inventive new film called Free Guy that is equal parts action, humor, and emotion while also having plenty to say about free will and the importance of taking control of your own life.

If that sounds too heavy, it’s really not. Free Guy is a super fun film that depicts two worlds playing out simultaneously: one taking place inside a fictitious video game that follows Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a meek but cheerful bank teller and his security guard best friend Buddy (Lil Rel Howery, Get Out) who suddenly discover they are background characters in the ultra-violent, open-world game of Free City; the other follows what’s going on outside the game in the real world as we meet Millie (Jodie Comer, Killing Eve) and Keys (Joe Keery, TV’s Stranger Things), a pair of gamers who believe the AI code they wrote has been stolen and incorporated into Free City’s action.

As the story swaps back and forth between the two worlds, we begin to realize that each is connected to the other, not only through a direct correlation of characters, actors, and a shared timeline, but by an emotional attachment as well. And that is where the script from Zak Penn (Ready Player One) and Matt Lieberman (The Christmas Chronicles) finds its biggest strengths. Not only do the pair excel in world-building and storytelling, their sweet love story packs quite a wallop as well.Free Guy

In fact, the attraction and subsequent relationship between Guy and a sexy female NPC who calls herself MolotovGirl (also Comer), actually drives the story forward as she not only helps him navigate the ins and outs of the game, but also convinces him that neither he, nor the world in which they live, are real. As a result of their relationship and his newfound consciousness, Guy begins to take on a more active role as an idealist and a nice person in their Uber-violent city. In other words, Guy is writing his own story. Perhaps the nice guy can win after all.

Free Guy is a very busy film visually with every pixel packed full of CGI explosions, otherworldly characters, and an endless barrage of action sequences. Definitely not for the faint of heart or those with photosensitivity issues. Though not a prerequisite to be a gamer, those in the know will most certainly appreciate the rat-a-tat homages to some of the industry’s most popular games such as Fortnight, Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario Brothers, and others.

To their credit, the film’s makers never shy away from the darker side of the industry or the abusive nature of the gaming culture. Filmmaker Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), goes all in with an over-the-top performance as Antoine, the villainous CEO of the company which makes Free City. To what lengths is a gaming company willing to go in order to preserve its financial viability? It’s worse than you may think. By moving from the background to the front, Guy is able to expose all the outrageous elements of the gaming community while simultaneously proving that life is what we make of it. As the closing credits roll, we are left with the thought that, perhaps, after all, people might indeed be interested in a video game about a nice guy.

3/5 stars

 

Free Guy

4k details divider

Free Guy 4K Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Disney | Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray
- October 12, 2021
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; German: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Italian: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Japanese: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Disney/Buena Vista scores maximum points with its 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital Code Ultimate Collector's Edition of Free Guy.

The black eco-case is housed in a slipcover with identical cover art. Inside is a blu-ray disc and a 4K UHD disc with a coupon for a digital download.

Video

Though a bit darker than the 1080p transfer, the 2160p upscaled from 2k presentation is a beautiful one with bright candy-colored action everywhere. Edges are clean and crisp, skin tones are accurate, and black levels are deep and consistent. CGI effects hold up through the upscale while very few digital artifacts can be seen anywhere.

Audio

The 4K UHD 2160p presentation includes an English language Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Descriptive audio, a Spanish language 7.1 Dolby digital Plus, and a French language 5.1 Dolby digital tracks.

The Dolby atmos track absolutely wore my system out with an auditory assault from all directions. I don't think the sub ever dropped out and the rears stayed active for pretty much the entire duration. On the sound spectrum this one is reference quality. Too bad the visual upscale left a bit to be desired.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Included on the disc are three deleted scenes, a gag reel, and 4 brief making-of type featurettes:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Dude vs Guy
  • Creating Molotovgirl
  • It's Taika's World
  • Welcome to Free City
  • Theatrical Trailers

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite 4K Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

Free Guy

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong fantasy violence throughout, language and crude/suggestive references.
Runtime:
115 mins
Director
: Shawn Levy
Writer:
Matt Lieberman; Zak Penn
Cast:
Ryan Reynolds; Jodie Comer; Taika Waititi
Genre
: Action | Comedy
Tagline:
Life's too short to be a background character.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Wow, enjoy your lifetime supply of virginity."
Theatrical Distributor:
Disney | 20th Century
Official Site: https://www.20thcenturystudios.com/movies/free-guy
Release Date:
August 13, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 12, 2021
Synopsis: A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.

Art

Free Guy

 

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