Monday, June 30, 2014

Classic Write-Up: Hot Fuzz Review

At this point, my respect and admiration for Edgar Wright is far beyond most artists in the entire world, let alone just ones in the film industry. The man, along with frequent collaborators Joe Cornish and Simon Pegg, has this ability for being able to incorporate hefty subject matter like growing up and letting go of the past into stories that are full of laughs and excitement. I've seen most of the directors works, but one major work of his that I somehow hadn't seen was Hot Fuzz. Now that that's changed, I can honestly say I regret not seeing such an utterly exquisite movie earlier than I did.

While Wrights phenomenal writing & directing (which I'll talk in-depth about later, don't worry) have much to do with the movies success, Simon Pegg also has a lot to do with the movies excellence. Now, Hot Fuzz is a tongue-in-cheek movie, but not in the vein of Meet The Spartans or Airplane!, but more like Kung Fu Panda or 22 Jump Street, where an unusual protagonist (or protagonists in this case, counting Nick Frost) engage in a perilous situation with actual emotional stakes, but adding in a dash of humor to the proceedings. A less capable actor might have been consumed by the cliches the script subverts, but Pegg (who wrote the movie with Wright) always know just the right time to pull out effective laughs or emotion in his performance.

He also plays off exceptionally with Nick Frost, a co-star who brings a dash of endearing naivety that meshes well with Pegg's brush approach. A nice turn from Jim Broadbent and Timothy Dalton (who bugged me the entire movie, since I knew I had seen him before somewhere else, but couldn't quite place him while I watching the film!) are among the supporting cast, while cameos from Martin Freeman, Steven Coogan(!!!) and Bill Nighy in the films first few minutes also help set the unique tone for the entire film.

Now, that tone is actually quite interesting, and it's a testament to Wright that he keeps the films pathos authentic and the humor effective while playing up the movies action elements. The escalating nature of the grisly murders committed by the movies antagonist are shocking, especially since they juxtapose with the calm nature of whats come before it. But they nicely manage to make them just stylized enough to make sure they don't make the film darker than it should be, yet remain more than intimidating enough to convey the obvious truth that, yes, there's something dastardly happening in this village. An impressive balance indeed, but perhaps the sequence that most deserves that adjective is the finale.

At one point during this marvelous adventure, our two protagonists connect over a double-feature of Point Break and Bad Boy II (Edgar Wright gets more effectiveness out of Michael Bay footage than Bay himself. God bless that man.) Though at first it's just a tip of the hat to the films Hot Fuzz is lampooning, the cinematic niche of chaotic action films those two particular movies belong to would be pleased as punch at all the mayhem Pegg and Frost unleash in the climax. I was just giddy at every turn here, whether it was the insane showdowns (a gun-toting priest was particularly entertaining) or the great one-liners ("No, I actually didn't say anything"), it's just unwavering in giving the viewer an unending stream of spectacular moments until Directed By Edgar Wright pops up on the screen. I've adored that particular director before this movie, but after seeing it, I can honestly say he's nothing short of a miracle in filmmaking, just as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are gifts to comedic acting.

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