Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Went to see Hot Fuzz last night. I have to say that I was pretty disappointed. It's not bad but it certainly wasn't as good as I had expected. It has its moments - the last half an hour or so is a gloriously over-the-top Tarantino-esque shoot-out and very entertaining. That last portion of the film is reminiscent of Desperado - only set in a Somerset village and featuring cops exchanging gunfire with machine gun toting little old ladies (although, of course, Channel 5 got there first with Suburban Shootout). Nick Frost is as amusing as ever and gets most of the best lines in the film. Pegg, however, isn't very funny at all. Whereas Frost plays the same sort of character he always plays (naive, boyish, day-dreaming, hero worshipping) - Frost's PC Danny is essentially the same person as Mike in Spaced and Ed in Shaun of the Dead - Pegg doesn't get to play Tim/Shaun this time. So, while Nick Frost can play to his strengths (and, yes, give the audience what they paid money to see - I paid to see Mike/Ed and Tim/Shaun in a cop buddy film spoof), there's very little that Pegg can do to find comedy in his character, Nick Angel, because Angel is a straight-laced, straight-faced and rather robotic sort of character.

I have to say that the first half an hour of the film is almost spectacularly dull, and the following hour isn't much better. There are a few laughs (mostly Nick Frost) but a lot of it is rather forced and I'm afraid we've seen most of the set-piece gags before - the fence vaulting slap-stick is essentially the same scene as the one in Shaun of the Dead (although I'm told that this is an intentional in-joke). It starts hotting up a little, however, when the grisly murders start - and the blood and gore special effects are actually pretty good. The first hour and half of the film is made interesting only because of Pegg's and Wright's trade-mark multiple film references, nods and spoofs.

There are plenty of comic actors in the the film besides Pegg and Frost - Adam Buxton (from Adam and Joe), Bill Bailey, Kevin Eldon (Big Train), Olivia Colman (Peep Show), Stephen Merchant and Steve Coogan - but almost all of them are completely wasted and given little more than deeply forgettable cameos and bit-parts.

I'm afraid I find Edgar Wright's direction style a little grating in this film. I quite like the fast, punchy editing in Spaced and Shaun of the Dead but in this film a lot of it is just uncomfortable to watch - as if Wright is trying to force his editing cleverness down your throat. There's a sequence in the film every time someone is arrested where quick fire frames of the suspect's mug shots are shown, with aggressive, discordant music in the back ground. I found that frequently repeated sequence teeth-grindingly uncomfortable as if I was being violently assaulted by means of disorienting noise and image - Guantanamo Bay style torture isn't really my idea of fun.

If you haven't seen it, I recommend you wait for the film to be shown on TV and just watch the last 30 minutes or so.


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