Sunday, October 21, 2007

Retro Movie Review: "Hot Fuzz"

Those crazy British. Since being defeated militarily by us Americans over 200 years ago, they have tried to reclaim this land by use of music and now by sending over the comedy team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. Wright wrote and directed Pegg (who also wrote) in the film Shaun of the Dead, a pitch perfect sendup of zombie movies. Shaun was not a spoof, but a loving homage with some witty and subtle jokes. It also featured some fine British acting by Bill Nighy and Pegg and Nick Frost.

Hot Fuzz is their followup, with Wright directing and co-writing with Pegg, who stars, and like Shaun, it sends up a common film genre: shoot 'em up cop dramas/action movies. Pegg's character, as straightlaced as one can be, has to leave the London police force because he is too damn good and is making everyone else look bad. He arrives in Sandford, where predictably, he's the only one who holds the law in high regard. His partner (Frost) is little more than a bumbling sidekick, which first the cliche well. A serial killer arises, pushing Pegg's character to the brink, as he is the only one willing to see murder, and is forced into becoming the type of officer that Frost's character wants to be: an action star. The last half of the movie gleefully engages in all the action movie requirements, with guns blazing, buildings exploding and gratitous blood.

Wright's direction, with quick cuts and fast whiparounds is spot on as both inline with these sorts of movies. Yet these sorts of cuts being repeated ad nausem and what mundane scenes are edited that way illustrate the ludicrousness of short-attention span directing. There is a scene in the climatic battle where the camera does a 360 around Pegg and Frost, while the spout off lines and pump their guns. It is both hilarious and seemingly a normal gesture. Even the music swells in the right way to underscore and undercut the seriousness of the situation.

Simon Pegg's and Nick Frost's friendship and chemistry was the foundation of Shaun and it again carries well in this film. Although Pegg's character initially thinks very little of Frost, he is never condescening, but rather tolerate of his lesser-than-stellar partner. Eventually, as it always goes, the two become equals and kick some major butt. The movie is fast and furious with nods and references (I only really caught a Chinatown reference, but I am sure there is a lot more).

This movie is a definite see if you liked Shaun of the Dead even a little and is a must-see if you didn't see Shaun or didn't enjoy it. This is the perfect second chance to get in on this bandwagon. If you can't be won over by this movie or that one, then the British have failed again. But I would gladly welcome a monarchy again if we can get more movies from Wright, Pegg, and Frost.

4 1/2 Heavy Artillery out of 5.

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Blogger Gonch In Goal said...

Here here. I look forward to eventually seeing this movie, among countless others I've missed this year. Difference being I actually expect this one to be good.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Lumie said...

It also does a bang up job of spoofing the British detective shows that are popular in England.

3:17 PM  

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