Monday, February 19, 2007

Hot Fuzz

It's unfortunately rare for me to get to see a film on it's opening weekend, however this weekend just gone was a big bad Hot Fuzz weekend.

Shaun Of The Dead was simply amazing, laugh out loud funny from literally the first minute in, a genius film, the best british comedy (or just best comedy) for years.

Hot Fuzz, which I've beeen eagerly awaiting since it was announced... is not as good.

It's laugh out loud funny, the comedy is typically Pegg-Wright (with a hint of Frost), it's a big old homage to the action films they love, predominantly Point Break and Bad Boys II (on first viewing i've also seen in there The Wicker Man (obvious) & T2 (bit more subtle)) and it's also a platform for showing off who they could get to appear in their film.

This final point is a tricky one, after all there's only so many actors on this planet and even less British comedy ones. The fact remains that at times this was still distracting for me though. (Notably the trio of Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan & Bill Nighy plus the appearance of Bill Bailey playing Bill Bailey...x2).

What about the laugh out loud funny??? Yes it is, in places it's bloody funny, choke-on-your-popcorn funny, but int others it's only mildly, smile-and-chuckle funny. The concept is a reasonably good one, Brit super-cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is forced to relocate to a sleepy west country village, where all is not as it seems.
Before long the whole thing starts to escalate into a full on Michael Bay/Tony Scott parody, gunfire, sweeping multi-cut steadycam, chopper porn (briefly), explosions, all the while remaining distinctly British, in a very twee, rural village manner.

My problems, apart from the afformentioned kudos-casting, well.. the chuckle factor, I didn't properly laugh until he went an saw his ex (who is?? I'm currently between Thandie Newton and Cate Blanchet at the mo, more the former, but haven't checked yet), so not the best start.

It doesn't feel as natural as Shaun did, it feels like they worked a lot harder to make this work. Then climax is too long and not 'action' enough to be the parody it's supposed to be. The editing and in some instances the direction caused major issues for me.
There's an Edgar Wright trait, I'll call it "The Spaced Cut". It's basically a fast, hard cut montage, for example in SOTD... toothbrush drops into glass, un-zip, toilet flush (roughly)... Fuzz is loaded with them. Instead of cleverly accentuating a couple of moments in the film, Angel's whole journey to Sanford is one long, horrible Spaced Cut and ther are a couple more tht felt unnecessary.

That said, it's still head and shoulders above most other comedies from both sides of the pond. I admire what they tried to do (and for the most part pulled off) and I will buy it on DVD. My girlfriend laughed heartily throughout, came out of the cinema and said "It wasn't Shaun Of The Dead." that pretty much sums it up...but then Shaun will take a lot to beat.

Hot Fuzz - 7.5/10 (8 on IMDb)

NB: I'm also aware of the Straw Dogs references but I haven't seen it. Also before it came out I was hoping it was gonna be like an advert that was on tv a while back. It wasn't.