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Free Guy

Director:
Shawn Levy
Release Date:
13 Aug 2021
Genre:
Action / Adventure / Comedy / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Country:
USA
Runtime:
115 min

A bank teller discovers that he's actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.



Free City is an online, open-world video game developed by Soonami Games. Its source code was stolen from an unreleased game called Life Itself, developed by Walter "Keys" McKey and Millie Rusk, and used by Soonami's head developer Antwan Hovachelik to create Free City. Keys has since taken a job at Soonami, while Millie spends time within Free City as her avatar Molotov Girl to find evidence of code that she and Keys had written and to prove that they are the rightful owners of the code.

In the game, Guy, a non-player character (NPC), works as a bank teller and spends time with his best friend and co-worker, bank security guard Buddy, unaware that his world is a video game. One day, he encounters Molotov Girl, who is singing the song that he says his dream girl will like and begins to deviate from his programming. He takes a pair of sunglasses from a player who tries to rob his bank, through which he sees Free City from the player's head-up display (HUD). Guy speaks to Millie, who initially thinks he is another player named "Blue Shirt Guy" and not an NPC. She tells him to level up to above 100 before she will speak to him again. Keys and his coworker Mouser believe Guy to be a hacker disguised as an NPC and unsuccessfully attempt to ban him from the game. Rather than leveling up through destructive acts, Guy opts to perform good deeds, completing missions within Free City to reach level 102. His virtuous progression, which stands out from those of other players, results in "Blue Shirt Guy" becoming a worldwide sensation.

Millie and Guy meet again when she breaks into the Stash, another player's well-protected compound that holds evidence of her source code. Guy helps Millie escape the Stash, and Millie is bewildered when Guy wants to kiss her. Keys realizes that Guy is truly an NPC, and that his self-awareness came about from artificial intelligence (AI) code containing Millie's personal preferences that Keys had included in Life Itself, which in turn had led Guy to develop a romantic interest in Millie. In addition, Guy's subsequent interactions with other NPCs have led them to develop self-awareness as well. Keys decides to help Millie retrieve their code before Free City is wiped from Soonami's servers to make way for its sequel, Free City 2, in two days. When Millie tells Guy the truth of his situation, Guy breaks off their relationship, telling her that he is in love with her. However, after talking with Buddy about the situation, Guy realizes that there was something more than love in their relationship and gains full sentience. Guy returns to Millie and agrees to help.

Guy breaks into the Stash again with Buddy's help, where its owner, recognizing Guy, hands over the evidence. Guy's continued popularity threatens the launch of Free City 2, and Antwan orders Keys and Mouser to reboot the entire game, but Keys refuses and Antwan reboots the game himself.

In the game, Millie finds Guy without any memories of his sentience, but recalling Keys' advice that Guy would need a reminder, she kisses him. Guy's sentience is restored, and he recalls the location of the Island, part of Life Itself that will not be protected from the pending data wipe and which is the only proof of Millie and Keys' original code. Antwan then tries to directly eliminate Guy and Molotov Girl from the game by raising their "wanted level" to maximum, but as Guy and Millie have persuaded the other NPCs in the game that they are more than their programming, they no longer respond to outside commands and refuse to interfere. Antwan then resorts to directly manipulating the game topography to kill Guy and Molotov Girl, while Keys makes his own changes to protect and direct them to the Island, broadcasting the effort to all of the Free City players who had been ejected from the game. Antwan fires Keys and then sends Dude, a muscular, unfinished copy of Guy developed for Free City 2, into the game. Unable to defeat him in direct combat, Guy puts his sunglasses onto Dude, the HUD distracting the far-less mature AI indefinitely.

Antwan then enters Soonami's server room and begins destroying the game's servers with a fire axe in a last-ditch attempt to prevent his theft from being revealed, leading Mouser to discover Antwan's crimes and get fired, but Guy makes it to the Island before he can destroy the last one, an event that is seen by gamers all over the world. With the theft revealed, Antwan holds the remaining server hostage and demands that Millie abandon her lawsuit and surrender the Free City intellectual property (IP), along with the profits from the game. Millie, believing the real value of the game is in its programming, enthusiastically agrees; the game's inhabitants are saved.

Without Millie and Keys' code, Free City 2 is a catastrophic failure at launch, Antwan is vilified by the media for his now-exposed crimes and he is arrested for theft and criminal damage. Keys, Mouser, and Millie start a successful new company with the recovered code to release Free Life, bringing Guy, Buddy, Dude, and the other Free City NPCs into it. Thanks to Guy, Millie realizes that Keys' code was in fact a love letter to her, and they embrace and kiss. Guy reunites with Buddy, and they begin to live their own lives in Free Life without having to follow their original Free City coding.
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Runtime:
115 minutes
Language:
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Runtime:
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