Hot Fuzz DVD: Review By Dodd

An unforgettable comedy from across the sea.
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
An unforgettable comedy from across the sea.
Most of the special features are plentiful, but there are a couple of blatantly worthless pieces of filler.
In 2004, a little movie called Shaun of the Dead hit American shores from the United Kingdom, and introduced U.S. audiences to a whole new world of lampooning. Unlike many of these American comedies that utilize the same senseless exercises in spoofery, Shaun did something that these other comedies never did; it showed appreciation for its source material. After years of effective zombie movies and movies that made fun of those movies, Shaun of the Dead looked to its predecessor films to inspire a new and original story hired on all generic cylinders as horror, comedy, drama, and romance. It was clearly an exercise from the mind of filmmakers who appreciated good storytelling and notable classics.

The minds behind Shaun of the Dead were Edgar Wright (director and co-writer) and Simon Pegg (co-writer and star). After the success of their horror tribute in both the UK and US, the duo inevitably decided to express their love of another type of film genre: action. The end product is the wildly explosive Hot Fuzz.

Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, a police officer for the city of London. Like Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon or John McClane from Die Hard, Angel is a member of the law who will stop at nothing to put threatening and non-threatening criminals behind bars. He spends his afternoon apprehending baddies while making his co-workers look like poor cops. This gets to the point that his superiors (winning cameos from Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, and Bill Nighy) reassign him to the quaint village of Sandford in order to better their reputations.

Used to the hustle and bustle of the city streets, Angel does not find much action in the quiet town of Sandford. His superior (Jim Broadbent) is a jolly old fellow who spends his afternoons munching baked goods in his office rather than being concerned with the non-existent crimes, and his partner Danny (Nick Frost) is the bumbling town drunk. Angel is even lucky if he manages to bust a teen for underage drinking, or a local mime for solicitation. However, he does begin to take notice when mysterious deaths occur. While Sandford has a low murder rate, it does have a high rate of "accidents". As some of the innocent villagers begin to show their susp*cious sides, Angel believes crime is at play and will stop at nothing to kick ass, take names, and bring those responsible to hard-hitting, gun-toting justice.

Just as Shaun of the Dead pays homage to the zombie horror film, Hot Fuzz pays tribute to the American action film. Writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg once again deliver a movie that they can call their own with plenty action movie references still intact. While I found Hot Fuzz to not hit the humorous notes that Shaun of the Dead hit, this is still one of the most winning comedies of the year. The idea of relocating the urban action film to a more rural setting in England is pure brilliance, and the result of such displacement is unleashed in an unforgettable climax that will put devotees of the action genre in stitches.

The film also succeeds at relying on certain action clich&#233s in developing its characters. Just like a buddy cop movie from the 1980s, a sexual tension exists between Angel and Danny. While most films would cross the line with tasteless and mean gay sex gags, the film plays its cards right with scenes more strikingly similar to the action source material itself. Pegg and Frost proved to be a fitting duo as best friends in Shaun of the Dead and they once again have just the right amount of chemistry here. Former James Bond Timothy Dalton also turns up in one of the funnier roles in the film as a grocery store owner who goes out of his way to be the token "susp*cious guy". This includes driving by every crime scene and making pointless, morbid remarks.

Co-writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright do the talking for this feature length track. It rarely gets better than this when it comes to commentaries. Wright and Pegg are enthusiastic about their films and there is no tension between these guys. They provide some serious trivial information about the film and also take the time to tell funny stories from the set.

The Man Who Would Be Fuzz

This is touted on the case as a must-see featurette. Instead this is literally 35 seconds of Pegg and Frost doing mediocre impressions of Michael Caine and Sean Connery. Not that this is bad, but couldn't this have just been thrown onto a blooper reel?

The Fuzzball Rally

Wright and Pegg have gained quite the following in the United States with their winning comedies. This doc*mentary is 30 minutes in length and chronicles their appearances, along with Nick Frost, at discussion panels. Much of the footage is rough and is taken by the men themselves as they screw around on and offstage. It is hard to not want to hang with these guys after watching this footage.

Hot Funk

I always love these as DVD features, yet I rarely find them on discs. Footage from the edited-for-television version is shown to emphasize every "funk" and "fudge" that covers the actual profanities.

Outtakes and Deleted Scenes (Optional Commentary with Deleted Scenes)

The outtakes are a great compilation of screw-ups because everyone seems to be sincerely happy on the set of the movie. People in high spirits are always funnier. The deleted scenes are not much in regards to entertainment value. Most of these are tid bits of filler dialogue that do not affect the important scenes because of their omission.

Fuzz Facts

Nothing beats pop-up information for the movie-watching experience. Although Pegg and Wright cover some of the same bases on the commentary, it is still a fun alternative way to watch the movie.

DVD also includes a storyboard track and trailers.
Widescreen. Edgar Wright really makes his movie look more like an action movie than a comedy. Everything is there from the explosions and slow motion. It is evident that more budget was poured into this one than Wright's previous outing.
5.1 Dolby Surround. It may be an action movie, but your stereo will still rock like an action film. There are plenty of whizzing bullets and booms to fill up your entertainment room.
Standard DVD keep case. The front cover shows Wright and Frost walking through flames with firearms ready to use.
Hot Fuzz proves once again that filmmakers can respect a genre without making a complete mockery out of it. Anyone who has an appreciation for action movies will get a kick out of the clever references to Lethal Weapon and Point Break. On top of the references, there is still plenty of room for Wright and Pegg's own brand of comedy along with action, suspense, and drama. If you are fed up with comedies that do nothing more than shock, then add this cleverly-written flick to your collection.

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