Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz is good. It's smart, and funny, and manages the same tongue-in-cheek spoofy yet dry tone that made Shaun of the Dead so great. Also back are the loud, fast close-ups that play mundane moments as high excitement--though here they function as action bombast instead of fake scare moments. And unthreatening-looking Simon Pegg is hilarious as a stone-faced, by-the-book hardass.

The movie spends a lot of time on set-up--all of which gets paid off, but it still makes for a pace that's a bit too slow. It flags more than Shaun of the Dead, and while it's very funny, the laughs aren't quite as dense. It's also less thematically resonant, which is fine--not every movie has to say something, and perhaps it's unfair to compare everything to Shaun of the Dead--but still, the result is less satisfying.

My main nitpick might not be the movie's fault so much as the fault of reviews and marketing. But it's billed as a take on the action genre, and it isn't, entirely. American action-cop movies are seldom about serial killers. Dirty Harry was, I guess, but most action-cop movies are about schemes--villains stealing something or taking over some place in the service of some Big Evil Plot that is soon to take effect.

In Hot Fuzz, there's a lot of talk about action movie tropes, but the action really only kicks in during the third act. Prior to that point, the movie, with its series of gruesome murders, feels more like a take on a thriller or horror movie. Much of the movie seems to draw on the same genre spoofed in Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-rabbit, which also featured sinister doings in a sleepy English village obsessed with a local competition--but wasn't that a horror spoof? It's possible that the intent is to play off of English rural murder mysteries in the Agatha Christie tradition, and I didn't get it. Or maybe it's just that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost enjoy coming up with comically gory deaths and didn't want to give it up just because they weren't making a zombie movie.



Tommaso Sciortino said...

I also just saw Hot Fuzz and agree that it wasn't quite as good as Shaun of the Dead. I appreciated that Simon Pegg didn't feel obligated to play the same character he did in the last film.

Zack said...

I've been made to expect that this is a funny movie, but the trailer made it look just pleasant.

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