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Monday, February 19, 2007

HOT FUZZ (2007) - Edgar Wright

Okay, before I start, let me state that I am a huge fan of Spaced. And so should everyone who ever quoted Ash or proclaimed that George Lucas killed their childhood be. I loved Simon Pegg and Egar Wright's post-Spaced venture, Shaun of the Dead. So, I promise, with this review, I'll try and refrain from gushing like a fanboy and resorting to hyperbole.

HOT FUZZ RULES!!!! It's fantastic, hilarious, violent, exhilarating, touching... it's fried gold! Okay, okay, I'll stop. Time to get objective. In Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, the finest police officer in the London police service, with an arrest record four hundred percent above that of his coleagues. As such, he has begun to make the rest of the force look bad. So, in an effort to improve the image of the service, Angel is transferred to the sleepy countryside village of Sanford, the safest villiage in Britain. There, he finds himself out of place, itching for some action, but reduced to policing church fetes and chasing down a runaway swan. He is partnered with Danny Butterman (Pegg and Wright regular Nick Frost), the dim-witted, but well meaning son of Police Chief Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). As the number of accidents in the villiage start mounting, Angel begins to suspect that the quiet villiage is not as quaint as the visage suggests.

When you think British comedy, the first image that springs to mind is charming fop Hugh Grant stuttering his way into the heart of some American beauty. But believe me, this film is as far removed from the Richard Curtis type film as possible. A kind of Miss Marple, Lethal Weapon hybrid, the film lays on the comedy thick and fast. To be perfectly honest, in comedy stakes, this is a one-man show. In Shaun of the Dead, Nick Frost was comedy foil to Pegg's straight man. And here, this is no different. The comedy seems to have been written for Frost and he delivers with gusto.
In terms of story, the film isn't very taxing. Story takes second seat to laughs, which is no big loss. However, the film suffers slightly with a third act where the action takes centre stage to the comedy. And while Edgar Wright's frenetic direction is excellent, the laughs aren't as frequent as the first two acts. But this is a minor complaint. The support cast is on top form and boasts a former James Bond (Timothy Dalton), Paddy Considine and Wicker Man legend, Edward Woodward.
Pegg and Wright have created yet another cult classic. And while Shaun of the Dead may be seen as the stronger film in time to come, Hot Fuzz will rightfully take it's place in the pantheon of buddy-cop movies.

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