Free Guy – A better than perfect parody of the GTA franchise

Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy is the latest hilarious addition to his filmography, and the film is ripe with references to several franchises. At one point, we see Guy pull out a Captain America shield and a Hulk arm while the Avengers theme playing in the background. Right after this, he even pulls out a lightsaber to the tune of Binary Sunset. However, there is one franchise that Free Guy references heavily, to the point it’s almost its parody. So try to relax, grab a cup of coffee or some chips and read on to explore a bit more on this.

The overall setting of Free Guy

Free Guy
Free Guy

As soon as we start watching Free Guy, we’re introduced to a world where crazy and bizarre things happen everywhere. Buildings blow up, stores get looted, people are crashed into, and the same bank is robbed every single day. In addition to that, everyone around the world reacts to it…normally. No one lifts even an eyebrow to the outrageous amount of violence around them. Sounds familiar?

This is entirely similar to the setting of the popular video game franchise Grand Theft Auto. With hundreds of players causing mayhem all the time while they rack up weapons, experience, and money, the film almost feels like GTA: Online. Whereas the pedestrians, who are actually NPCs, go along with this completely normalized level of violence. This gives the chaos a comedic effect, making the violence in Free Guy a parody of the one in GTA.

Shifting the perspective

Guy looking at a player with a gun
Guy looking at a player with a gun

The GTA franchise has had several iconic protagonists over the years. So instead of giving us an iconic protagonist, Free Guy offered us…an NPC. That’s right, the protagonist of this film is just an NPC in the video game. Guy is just a man who wakes up every day, wears the same clothes, drinks the same coffee, and witnesses the same bank being robbed each day. Except when one day he witnesses the reality of his world.

From the perspective of an NPC, the entire tone of the surroundings becomes different. We see the bizarreness of it all from Guy’s perspective now. We’re no more the people who cause the mayhem in the GTA universe; we’re the bystanders. There’s something hilarious about seeing how exactly an innocent civilian watches us kill everyone around him.

Another layer

Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto

In the real world, we see that everything we have witnessed so far was actually in a video game called Free City. The game is owned by Soonami Studios, which is now preparing to launch the sequel to Free City, which is actually just the original game with different characters and missions. In another small scene, we see Keys, an employee at Soonami Studios who has a major role in this movie, sarcastically suggests to Antwan, owner of Soonami Studios, that they should make an original game instead of a sequel. To this Antwan replies, that money lies in IPs and sequels, not originality.

This is Free Guy probably poking fun at Rockstar Games for making several sequels to GTA along with many of its IPs. Though Rockstar Games was once known for making amazing and controversial video games. The last original game they made was around a decade ago. Since then, the game studio has focused mainly on online extensions of their video games, i.e., GTA Online and Red Dead Online. Though these games aren’t exactly bad, the general audience would prefer if Rockstar Games soon releases an original video game with a brand new concept.

Aryaman Kumar

I'm a nerd and I write nerdy stuff

Leave a Reply