Hot Fuzz

Hamlet. Ay, marry; why was he sent into England?

First Clown. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, ‘t is no great matter there.

Hamlet. Why? First Clown. ‘T will not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Sometimes watching British movies is a drag, mainly because it’s hard to understand what they’re saying. I have a tendency to turn the volume up, which is particularly bothersome if the movie is on TV because then I get blown through the walls when the commercials come on. For that reason, much to my disappointment, I could never sit through Trainspotting or The Full Monty.

Nevertheless, and please don’t tell my Dubliner co-worker I said this, I like the English. I love their ironic, dry sense of humor. I still dig Monty Python, I love Ab Fab and I adore Shaun of the Dead, the 2004 zombie movie spoof. Besides, as William Shakespeare said so eloquently, English people are nuts. Nuts in an endearing sort of way.

Hot Fuzz is the latest movie from Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. I couldn’t wait to see it, especially since Simon Pegg and Nick Frost return as the two hapless protagonists. So, despite the fact that I had two children dancing a Conga line across my living room, I sat down, cranked up the volume and popped in the DVD.

There are no zombies this time, and Simon Pegg isn’t the retail-working loser he was in Shaun. This time around he plays Sgt. Nicholas Angel, a supercop who fights crime with the enthusiasm of Inspector Javert. When his co-workers fear that he’ll lock up all the criminals in London and put them out of business they transfer him to Sanford, a small village where the most troublesome criminal is the “living statue” that hangs around the town square.

Once Nicholas arrives in town he is partnered with Danny Butterman (Frost). Danny isn‘t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he gets to be a cop because his father heads up the local police department. He also loves cop movies like Bad Boys and Point Break and hopes to learn the tricks of the trade from Nicholas. Nicholas’ philosophy is that everything means something. If a man walks down the street with his hat pulled down over his face it’s because he’s hiding something, not because he’s “fuck-ugly.”

Almost as soon as Nicholas arrives in Sanford mysterious deaths begin occurring. The locals chalk them up to accidents, but Nicholas believes otherwise. As the deaths come more and more frequently and are more and more bizarre, Nicholas becomes more and more determined to get to the bottom of things. His colleagues, meanwhile, wonder why they’re still working cases during happy hour.

Hot Fuzz starts out as an absurdly funny, fish-out-of-water comedy. There are some scenes that are gruesome and violent; in fact at one point you‘ll think you were watching The Omen. Still, there is humor to be found in the goriest of scenes. The village of Sanford seems to be a quaint English town with the usual stodgy characters, but it is really the British equivalent of an American suburb with Draconian zoning ordinances; outsiders best get with the program or suffer the consequences.

At 121 minutes Hot Fuzz runs a little long, but Simon Pegg and Nick Frost give inspired performances yet again as do British character actor Jim Broadbent as Inspector Butterman and Timothy Dalton as the suave supermarket mogul Simon Skinner. Bill Nighy also makes a short appearance as Metropolitan Chief Inspector Kenneth. By the end the movie turns into a shoot-’em-up action flick, but since it’s a parody, and a damn funny one at that, you really won’t care. Just remember to turn the volume up.

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~ by mwench on October 17, 2007.

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