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HOT FUZZ
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton
Director: Edgar Wright
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Universal
Features: See Review
Length: 121 Minutes
Release Date: September 22, 2009

“My, my, here come the FUZZ.”

Film ****

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 its spoofing of the horror genre, Hot Fuzz delivers laughs in scene after scene while establishing its 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.

Video ****

“Seen any murderings, Nichol-arse?”

Having been previously blown away but the outstanding quality of the DVD release, I had a feeling Blu-ray would end up presenting the movie in an even bigger, more explosive form…and I was absolutely right. Everything that was superb in the original DVD presentation has been amped up about ten times in quality in the 1080p. Edgar Wright’s unique visual approach has been given spectacular attention to detail, and both day and night sequences get equal grand treatment. Amazing looking HD presentation from beginning to end!

Audio ****

“Bring the noise.”

This is one movie that’s been getting the best sound treatment ever since its debut on DVD. But when I saw that a 5.1 DTS HD mix was going to be featured on this Blu-ray release, I knew this would be as great as it could get…and I was absolutely right, once again! In fact, not only do the fast-paced action bits sound more furious than ever, but even some of the quieter bits have been given some spectacular treatment as well, proving that Edgar Wright is really dedicated to giving his films the best sound design imaginable. Gunfights, car chases, music on the soundtrack, angry quacks from the swan and dialogue all sound phenomenal! If anything, this is one reference quality Blu-ray! 

Features ****

“P.I. Staker? Right, PISS TAKER, COME ON!”

Universal should be applauded by all Blu-ray enthusiasts worldwide. As marvelous as the 3-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD release was in terms of packaging and extras, they were able to take every bonus feature from those three discs and combine them into one for the Blu-ray, thus resulting in the appropriately titled Ultimate Edition!

To start with, we get 5, that’s right, 5 commentary tracks.  The first features Edgar Wright and star/co-writer Simon Pegg. The second features Pegg and costars who make up The Sanford Police; Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon and Olivia Colman. The third features the cast members who make up The Sanford Village People; Timothy Dalton, Kenneth Cranham, Paul Freeman and Edward Woodward. The fourth features The Real Fuzz in the form of Andy Leafe and Nick Eckland. The fifth track, as well as well as one of the best commentaries of all time, features Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino, which is exactly the funny and informative listen you would expect it to be.

Also included are 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!

There’s also an arsenal of documentaries, including “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. Plus, there’s 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.

But it doesn’t end there, as this Blu-ray release adds in the U-Control option, allowing you to see behind the scenes material as the movie is playing. There are also two features exclusive to the Blu-ray; The Fuzz-O-Meter, which is an all new trivia track, and Storyboards, which explore the moviemaking process from page to screen.

Summary:

Hot Fuzz has gone from being one of the best all around DVD releases of all time to being one of the greatest Blu-ray releases imaginable. The picture and sound quality have never been more jaw-dropping, and to have all of the extras on one disc is nothing short of outstanding. Unquestionably a must have BD release!

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