Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

HotFuzzThumbby Brad Nelson
There’s no way to describe “Hot Fuzz.” It’s beyond my powers. And neither can I really recommend it. And I say that because it’s bound to be too quirky for most people’s tastes. But all the same, I think you’d be disappointed if you didn’t see it.

This is one quirky comedy (with a capital “Q”), and it takes some time for this movie to get going. But the makers of this movie thoroughly understand understatement, as they also do overstatement, otherwise they couldn’t parody both ends so well.

This is the kind of film that I would be proud to have made because it is intelligent, funny, unpredictable, and offbeat. Rather than expecting the viewer to sit back and be spoon-fed everything, it plays a bit more like a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 movie in which a viewer’s knowledge of other movies, and the culture at large, is tickled and played off of.

This isn’t the best movie in terms of the overall. But it is truly masterful the way the writer and director have maintained a specific and somewhat unique tone throughout the movie, even while the plot changed wildly. I had to keep checking to make sure that Terry Gilliam wasn’t involved in this project. Certainly the movie must owe something to him and to the offbeat humor of Monty Python.

This movie is fresh, funny, and I can almost guarantee you that you haven’t seen it before. My hat is off to Edgar Wright and co-writer Simon Pegg (who also stars as Nicholas Angel) – not because this is such a great movie but because they, in my opinion, expertly maintained a very singular tone throughout this picture despite the changing circumstances. It’s like telling a good joke. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone has just the right cadence, timing, pitch, and twinkle in their eye.

And the twinkle in the eye of these filmmakers is a decidedly dark twinkle. This is a black comedy and one of the better ones that I’ve seen. But it depends on some build-up so you have to be a bit patient in the early going. And it depends on the viewer’s knowledge of culture and movies, and more importantly, his or her subtle ability to gauge parody and satire. Sometimes it’s not funny if you don’t know that a subject is being satirized.

I hope Wright and Pegg team up for another movie soon. This movie feels like their preamble. Something blockbuster great could come next. “Hot Fuzz” gets 3 out of 5 runaway swans. It would have scored higher if it hadn’t been a bit too subtle at the start and if, frankly, Pegg was just a bit more appealing as an actor. But it all worked well for what it was.

[Note: I have since seen Shaun of the Dead which was an earlier effort by Wright/Pegg. It was also quirky but much more repetitive, something you can expect from zombie movies.]

HotFuzzPoster

Top London cop, PC Nicholas Angel is good. Too good. And to stop the rest of his team looking bad, he is reassigned to the quiet town of Sandford. He is paired with Danny Butterman, who endlessly questions him on the action lifestyle. Everything seems quiet for Angel, until two actors are found decapitated. It is called an accident, but Angel isn’t going to accept that, especially when more and more people turn up dead. Angel and Danny clash with everyone, whilst trying to uncover the truth behind the mystery of the apparent “accidents. More »

Available on DVD (Widescreen: $11.98 new, $0.50 used), Blu Ray ($10.98 new), or Amazon Instant Video ($2.99). Not available for streaming on Netflix.

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.

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2 Responses to Movie Review: Hot Fuzz

  1. cdjaco says:

    “I hope Wright and Pegg team up for another movie soon.”

    Your wish has been granted. “The World’s End” came out this summer, and if it isn’t available to rent yet it will soon be. I saw it in the theater with my wife (we had both enjoyed “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead”) and we came out entertained.

    Is it grand cinema? Hardly. But it’s head and shoulders above most of what was shoveled into theaters this year. If you want a silly popcorn movie, you could do much worse.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the capsule review, cdjaco. I’ll definitely check that one out when it becomes available. Thanks for the info.

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