April 29, 2007

Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

From the brilliant team beind Shaun of the Dead, comes this new genre mash up. Following the successful reinvigoration of horror/comedy, they have turned their eye on the action/comedy. The results are spectacular. The approach to making a successful spoof of the action genre is to play it straight. A plot involving murder in a small town is approached with deadly seriousness and the comedy just builds from there. It is such a brilliant comedy that blends subtle and wildly over the top comedy within a story that is actually well developed and much more than what you would expect from what is, essentially, a movie that makes fun of buddy action conventions.

Simon Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, a straight laced, by the book police officer. He is a man who is very good at what he does, unfortunately, he is too good at what he does. Because of his prolific arrest record, he is given a promotion which forces a change of scenery, you see, the rest of the force are tired of looking bad in the wake of his success, so this is a conspiracy to allow them to shine. Angel is a little upset by the move, but follows orders and reports to a sleepy town where he crime rate is so low as to not really require someone of Angel's abilities. However, this doesn't stop our hero from finding crimes occuring all around him.

He is teamed with the lovable, sweet natured lunk, Danny, played by Pegg's Shaun co-star Nick Frost. Here is a guy who is infatuated with the action filled lifestyles of the cops he sees in the movies, constantly pestering Angel about his exploits in the big city. Together, they embark on a relationship that mirrors what is usually seen in romantic comedies, while remaining within the confines of the platonic world. The two become embroiled in a murder mystery that is going on right under the noses of many fo the good townfolk, explaining the extraordinarily high accident rate.

I really don't want to spoil it, so I will refrain from any further plot description. Suffice to say, that the movie is the perfect balance of story, character, and humor. The cliches that are so prevalent in these types of films are skillfully skewered here, yet feel so natural in service to the plot. It is a satire poking fun at action films and gun culture that welcomes them just as often as they laugh at them. This is what a satire should be.

Co-writers Edgar Wright (who also directed) and Simon Pegg have crafted a story that develops characters that we can genuinely feel for while peppering their dialogue with comedic touches both blatant and subtle. It is a movie that has equal parts hidden jokes as it does overt silliness. It is a film that is not constrained by its genre roots, gleefully taking those conventions, turning them on their ear and then blasting them back out onto the screen.

While delivering a lot of laughs, Hot Fuzz also delivers the action oriented goods, with a blood soaked shootout, a wild car chase, and even more laughs interspersed. the climactic shootout is, hands down, one of the best to grace he big screen in some time. Successfully mimicking other films such as Point Break and Bad Boys II, both of which are discussed in the movie, the scenes feel natural within the progression. In short, this is a masterful film which may not be perfect, but more than delivers the goods when it counts.

Bottomline. This movie is a big ole piece of brilliant. An engrossing film that is as much love song to as it is a satire of the joy of the action film. It is blazingly original in its approach of the material. It has a cast that has wonderful chemistry and comic timing. It just comes out firing on all cylinders and delivers the goods.

Highly Recommended.


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