Friday, October 26, 2007


Sergeant Nicholas Angel(Simon Pegg)is such an exceptional policeman that his efficiency reflects badly on his peers. He is a serious man who tackles crime as if his life depends on it and by the end of "Hot Fuzz" absolutely nothing will change that tenet. Pegg, who also shares screen-writing credit with Edgar Wright, has the perfect poker-face for a spoof character but the film gathers its momentum so slowly that he bores us before the real action begins. The snail pace exasperates the film's need to illicit laughter as a means of keeping the viewer interested. The early scenes thus prove to be decidedly unfunny and forced because the slapstick value is overused. Pegg's dramatic leanings help to soften the blow but he steadies things at the expense of alienating interest in his character. It is Angel who keeps the film intransient by his surliness even after being reassigned to Sanford, a quiet town continuously awarded best village of the year.

When a series of ghastly murders occur shortly after he arrives, Angel's instincts lead him to probe a little too deeply for the town's collective liking. In a painstaking manner, he pieces together an outlandish case against local grocer Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton, villainous as only he can). It's an accusation that will backfire and endanger his life because its partially true. Thus, Angel encounters an issue that his efficiency is a direct cause of; the too sharp new comer unaware that he's trampling on the town's set regulations. He doesn't realise that this was the very same reason why he was transfered to Sanford in the first place: not knowing when to turn his superior cop filter on and off. "Hot Fuzz" takes way too long to make this point then barely has it registered. It nearly ruins the film's chances for redemption as its odd dramatic tone eschews the intended satire.

Clearly influenced by Quentin Tarantino's 'Kill Bill' films, "Hot Fuzz" misses out on variation and speed and only interjects spurts of brilliance once Angel decides not to accept defeat by the stunning town secret he discovers. He returns, poker-faced, astride a forlorn-looking horse with guns literally ready to blaze. It's a critical junction for "Hot Fuzz":films sink or swim at such moments, especially those that straddle satire and comedy as this one attempts to do. Luckily, it works immediately with some innovative and violently happy shooting scenes. Because the film doesn't take itself too seriously, such outrageous violence is genuinely funny and takes the focus from our hero to other characters that are infinately more interesting and less earnest. The town folk, who were hypocritically pleased to accomodate Angel as one of them before, now brandish bullets lustily at him in an open hostility that is the closest this spoof comes to reality. Even the local pastor attempts to kill Angel in a delightfully farcical scene. The worst betrayal though comes from Inspector Butterman (the ever excellent Jim Broadbent) his superior at the Sanford police force.

Unfortunately, the film eventually is overtaken by its own excess. Like Beyonce's 'Get Me Bodied' music video,it doesn't end on the high note it takes so long to find but continues much longer than necessary. After the violence dissipates, we're treated to tie-ins and much police banter, never mind the fact that the plot is just stretching itself...all the thrilling action had already ended by the time Skinner gorged himself through the mouth after a routine chase scene. It's an ill-fitting, unfunny image but it metaphorically serves as what frustrates more than anything else about the film.

RATING: 6/10

1 comment:

Misty said...

People should read this.