Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick
Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton
Director: Edgar Wright
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 121 Minutes
Release Date: November 27, 2007
“What’s it like being stabbed?”
“It was the single most painful experience of my life.”
“What was the second most painful?”
Along with Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz represents the most fun I’ve had at the cinema in quite some time!
The movie is an uncanny achievement for two reasons; it’s one of the most original and hilarious movies I’ve ever seen, and it has restored my faith in the movie spoof. The writing team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are nothing short of geniuses in the way they approach the material. The makers of the horrific Date Movie and Epic Movie could learn a lot from these guys.
Wright and Pegg scored a hit in 2004 with the insanely funny Shaun of the Dead, which both spoofed the zombie movie and celebrated it at the same time, winning over no less that George A. Romero himself. With Hot Fuzz, the unthinkable has been achieved in that Wright and Pegg have even surpassed their first movie, crafting a remarkable blend of cutting edge humor (the kind that would make the Monty Python guys proud) with the same sort of over-the-top graphic violence.
This time around, it’s the action genre that Wright and Pegg have their sights set on, and is their aim ever more perfect? It helps to enjoy the proceedings even more if you happen to have been an action movie junkie growing up, which I clearly was. Not a single trademark of the genre is let off the hook. The violence, the buddy-cop banter, the occasional badly-punned dialogue are all on display here in a purely grand fashion, along with some side-splitting touches Wright and Pegg have added in.
Pegg also is a gifted comic actor and throws himself completely into the lead role of Nicholas Angel, the kind of ridiculously unstoppable cop we’re used to seeing in the movies. After receiving every possible kind of accolade for his services and ridding crime from the streets of London entirely by himself, his superiors feel the need to transfer him, since he’s making the rest of the force look bad. Angel, expecting a promotion, is less than thrilled.
With no other option, Angel is forced to serve alongside the police force in Sanford, a countryside village where nothing ever happens. But as it turns out, Angel stumbles onto a series of brutal murders (and I stress the word BRUTAL) that may lead to a conspiracy within the town, or even that of a cult. Raising Angel’s suspicions is the sneering Simon Skinner (a dead-on Timothy Dalton), who runs a local supermarket (a “SLASHER” of prices, if you will), and doesn’t seem to take Angel’s police procedural too seriously.
As if that wasn’t enough, Angel is saddled with slacker partner in the form of Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) who’s only on the force because his father (Jim Broadbent) runs the department. Danny has never seen any action on the force, as the only sort of violence he’s experienced comes from repeated viewings of such flicks as Point Break and Bad Boys II. (Being a devoted fan of Bad Boys II, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that it was being referenced this much). So with Angel being the legendary supercop, Danny feels compelled to ask him such questions as, “You ever shot your gun in the air and shouted “Ahhhhhh”?”
As Shaun of the Dead in it’s spoofing of the horror genre, Hot Fuzz delivers laughs in scene after scene while establishing it’s own demented action movie plot. The comedy and violent insanity (including a phenomenal death by church roof) build towards a final half hour that is quite simply hard to describe in words in terms of its brilliance. It shifts into hilarity overdrive, and if you’re an action movie fan you are going to love and appreciate it even more! I can’t remember the last movie that had me laughing this hard while getting my adrenaline going all at once.
Even Michael Bay gets referenced endlessly. In addition to Danny’s constant referencing of Bad Boys II, some of Bay’s traditional camera shots are celebrated. It helps that I’m a fan of his work, as I was able to spot the rotating camera shot of Angel and Danny rising from the ground ready for action. And when a slow motion shot of the cops looking above at a helicopter, I applauded with glee.
At this point, I can easily consider Hot Fuzz to be not only the funniest film of 2007, but also the funniest movie of the decade. It’s that remarkably funny and brilliant. And though it may be a hard movie to top, I’m definitely looking forward to the next balls-to-the-wall comedy from writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. These guys are the real deal!
Bonus: Though they are extremely hard to spot, Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett appear in brief cameos.
“Seen any murderings, Nichol-arse?”
“Bring the noise!”
I remember seeing this in the theater and being blown away by the sound quality. When I saw that the sound mix was going to be in 5.1 EX, I already knew I was in for some incredible quality. And I was right, so much to the point that I’m considering this a front-runner for best sounding disc of the year. It’s nothing but furious sound quality from beginning to end, even when considering the smallest sound effect. Action is captured brilliantly, as is music playback and dialogue delivery. Get ready to be blown away!
“P.I. Staker? Right, PISS TAKER, COME ON!”
In retrospect, I truly think I gave too high of a rating on the extras area of the original DVD release, which came out this past July. That’s especially true when comparing it to this extravagant, locked’n loaded 3 Disc Collector’s Edition from Universal that is certainly one of the year’s all around best DVD releases.
And each disc is individually loaded with endless extras. Disc One includes four all new commentary tracks, in addition to the one from the previous release with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. The first new commentary features Pegg and costars who make up The Sanford Police; Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon and Olivia Colman. The second new track features the cast members who make up The Sanford Village People; Timothy Dalton, Kenneth Cranham, Paul Freeman and Edward Woodward. The third track features The Real Fuzz in the form of Andy Leafe and Nick Eckland. But the standout commentary track on this release, as well as one of the best commentaries of the year, features Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino, which is exactly the funny and informative listen you would expect it to be.
Also featured on Disc One are mostly extras from the original DVD release; Deleted Scenes with optional filmmaker commentary, an outtakes reel, “The Man Who Would Be Fuzz”, where Simon Pegg and Nick Frost act out a scene from the movie as Sean Connery and Michael Caine. There’s also the Fuzz-O-Meter, a subtitled trivia track, as well as Storyboards, Trailers, a peek at Danny’s Notebook: The Other Side, and even soft-language version titled “Hot Funk”, which is in a word, PRICELESS!
Disc Two features even more behind the scenes action starting with the documentary, “The Making of Hot Fuzz”, Eight additional featurettes (“Art Department”, “Friends & Family”, “Cranks, Cranes and Controlled Chaos”. “Here Come the Fuzz”, “Return to Sanford”, “Edgar & Simon’s Flip Chart”, “Simon Muggs” and “Sergeant Fisher’s Perfect Sunday”). Also included are 23 Behind the Scenes Video Blogs, Plot Holes and Comparisons, a Before and After look at the Special Effects, Poster and Photo Galleries and even director Edgar Wright’s first cop movie from 1993 called Dead Right, with two optional commentary tracks; one with Wright, the second with Simon Pegg.
Disc Three includes the uncut version of “The Fuzzball Rally” documentary featured on the original DVD release, which includes over 40 minutes of new footage, as well as optional commentary. Lastly, there’s additional video blogs courtesy of VW and Itunes.
As we approach the end of 2007, it’s a more fitting time to say that Hot Fuzz was indeed the year’s funniest movie. In addition, this terrifically packaged 3-Disc Collector’s Edition release is truly one of the best all around DVD releases of the year as well. Trust me when I say do away with the original disc and pick up this edition immediately. You won’t regret it at all!