Hot Fuzz

Sean Of The Dead was a pretty good film. Let’s not get too starry eyed about it. Over the two or so years since it was released, it seems to have garnered a mythology that it really doesn’t deserve. Yes, it is the best British comedy (film* even?) in donkeys. But, to quote myself that’s a bit like being called the Elvis of dubstep. The competition isn’t really that great. It’s a film that kind of loses it’s edge USP as it trundles towards the inevitable big action finale. But, even leading up to that there were moments of heavy handed over-egging. Effectively it was just bigger Spaced (a damn fine sitcom) with zombies, and not enough Jessica Stevenson. Which, although, very good is no Life Of Brian.

And so, for their second feature writing/directing/acting team Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have thrown abandoned zombies for the buddy/cop movie genre with Hot Fuzz. Only transposed to an incongruous setting in England – yup just like Shuan… did. I’ll skip the plot because, other than not really mattering, you’d have had to been walking about with your eyes and ears shut for the last couple of months not to know what it’s about. Basically, they take all the cliches of the genre and wrqap them up in one great big Midsomer Murders meets Straw Dogs film-buff geeky fanboy of a film. And, very, very funny. It’s inevitable that this will be overly scrutinsed in the light of the success fo the first film, hence my sizable disclaimer of a pre-amble. Basically, I wanted to point out that this stands on it’s own, but also compares very favourably to the other, easily.

This is a film that manages to finish with Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy and Steve Coogan in the five minutes three minutes, which should give you some sort of indication of just how many familiar faces are crammed into it – probably a result of the success of the previous film. In fact it’d be easier to start listing who isn’t featured, tbh. Of course, special mention to Nick Frost in the sidekick role. Managing to bring some reality to the gormless character that shows him beginning to shed the cartoon moronicism of Mike in Spaced . A nice foil to Pegg’s near-machine like supercop.

On the down side, it’s…altogether now…a good fifteen/twenty minutes too long. The day of the auteur is gone, everyone knows that films these days run through so many test audiences and fiddled with by committee and executives that surely they should be lean mofos by the time they are unleashed on the public? Why is everything so flabby these days? Does no-one watch the finished item? OK, it’s not the worst example, and thankfully it’s more jokes that they stuck in there. It’s just that this really bothers me. Whatever happened to the craftsmanship?

Also, they play up the I-love-you-dude homosexual undertones of most buddy movies to about as far as they can without getting explicit. But, there’s something not right about it. It’s as if everyone involved felt they couldn’t avoid these factors in the genre, but were really uncomfortable putting it on screen. Which is all very disappointingly laddish of them.

Pegg and Wright have said that this will be their last genre parody, mainly because it happened by accident. It actually seems a bit of a shame. Dunno what they could’ve done, but a trilogy would be nice. Well, at least it would seem to make sense.

*Were it not for The Wind That Shakes The Barley

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Written by Tony Kiernan

12 March 2007 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Film

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