Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hot Fuzz: A Review

Parodying buddy action movies should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel but the pickings for such fare are pretty slim. Luckily, the world has been blessed with HOT FUZZ (Edgar Wright, 2007). Rather than being a one-note joke, HOT FUZZ is a two-handed chord with plenty of incidental notes.

When hot-handed supercop, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), shows up everyone in his department with his ever-increasing arrest record and countless commendations. This big fish in a big pond gets shoehorned by his superiors into the hopelessly small pond of Sandford. This idyllic village has the lowest crime rate in England with the most serious incident for Angel to address being an escaped swan. He's partnered with Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a clumsy oaf with a penchant for the same cheesy cop movies that line the shelves next to my DVD player. His favorites are the homoerotic POINT BREAK (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991) and cheesy BAD BOYS II (Michael Bay, 2003).

More than just aping musical cues (LETHAL WEAPON), camera movements (BAD BOYS II), lines (CHINA TOWN), and actions (HARD BOILED), HOT FUZZ blends all of these elements together in a seamless pastiche akin to the work Wright, Pegg, Frost, and company did with SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004). References to other works aren't self-reflexive moments where the film comes to a screeching halt while there's a cinematic wink to the audience. Rather, if you don't catch the references the film is a hoot. If you catch them the film traverses into hysterically funny. Apart from the opening shot, there's no moment for an audience to catch their breath as the clever writing and wonderful match-cut editing keep HOT FUZZ moving at a fast and furious pace.

At times HOT FUZZ reminded me of SUPER TROOPERS (Jay Chandrasekhar, 2001) but that was probably just the two mustachioed, prickish detectives of Sanford. In that I was gasping for air due to laughing so hard, the way HOT FUZZ played with the action genre also recalled LETHAL FORCE (Alvin Ecarma, 2001). I'm only surprised that there was no "I need your gun and your badge" scene in Wright's film.

I'm already planning on seeing HOT FUZZ again and have the DVD on pre-order. Good stuff.

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