Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HOT FUZZ (Edgar Wright, 2007, UK) Nicholas Angel is the perfect cop, much to the detriment of the London Metropolitan Police Department, more dedicated to his job than his fiancé, a divisive chasm that separates Nicholas from the world around him…and himself. Once again, Director Edgar Wright makes a near perfect parody, this time of inane cinematic perversions known as the “Summer Blockbuster” but is also able to imbue the story with heartfelt humanity, humor, and passion. The plot is simple: Nicholas is so perfect that his superiors relegate him to the model town of Sandford, a rural village stuck in the molasses of anachronism, virtually crime free and filled with colorful but harmless caricatures. Of course, all is not what it seems and he soon finds himself in the midst of a grisly murder spree and assigned Danny, a slovenly partner whose reflection is the antithesis of Nicholas’ self image. The film is structured as a buddy movie and slowly builds their frustrating relationship towards the gruesome climax, utilizing the “Action Hero” tropes of idiotic films such as BAD BOYS II, POINT BREAK, and LETHAL WEAPON because this time…"It’s for real". Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are pitch-perfect in their respective roles, playing it straight and reveling in the quiet emotional moments that make their relationship believable. Edgar Wright eschews a condescending attitude towards this typical action tripe and spices the drama with references to THE WICKER MAN, CHINATOWN and Sergio Leone’s operatic westerns. This alchemical combination creates gold from leaden clichés, a violent dichotomy between gags and bloody violence. As Nicholas begins to unravel the twining mystery, he spouts exposition whose logic is acute and factual but hilariously erroneous. Wright utilizes a blistering 5.1 soundtrack with huge explosions, overindulgent voice-overs, screeching car chases and outrageous shootouts…all to good effect! The final act is so flamboyantly violent it becomes burlesque but works in the context of the film, and we cheer for the protagonists and laugh-out-loud without taking it too seriously…but just serious enough because we want Nicholas and Danny to succeed. HOT FUZZ is a heated journey where Nicholas does not go gently into that Dark Knight and finally earns his soul. (B+)

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