August 21, 2007

Hot Fuzz (2007)
Universal Home Video

121 mins. · R
16x9 · 2.35:1

Format
HD-DVD

Audio
English - DD 5.1 EX Plus
French - DD 5.1 EX
Spanish - DD 5.1 EX

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Commentary Track, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes

Starring
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2007)

When Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg unleashed "Shaun Of The Dead" in 2004 the world was flat out flabbergasted. Hardcore horror and splatter fans were flocking to see a comedy that spoofed every single element and cliché of their favorite genre. The reason it was so effective was that Wright and Pegg knew their métier inside out and were so honest to their roots that you couldn't help but like and laugh at Shaun and his fight against the zombies. Now the two have teamed up for another comedy with the title "Hot Fuzz," and like "Shaun of the Dead" it hits its mark right in the bullseye. "Hot Fuzz" couldn't be funnier.

Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a top cop in London. Is the top dog, really, excelling at everything and anything. In fact, he is so good that he makes everyone else look bad. And that becomes a problem. When one officer continually has a 400% higher success rate than any other one in the district, it simply sheds a bad light on the entire office. And so they decide to get rid of him – by assigning him to a little town in the countryside where nothing is happening ever and where he can do no harm.

Or so his superiors thought. But Angel starts cleaning up this small town from the minute he sets his foot there. From having drinking underage kids removed from the pub to arresting drunkards attempting to drive their car under the influence, he immediately makes a mark.

As he finds out, though, things are a little different in a small village like Sandford. The drunkard was the police chief's son and Angel's new partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), the kids were virtually the only paying customers at the pub, and more so, practically everyone keeps telling Angel that things are okay the way they are.

But what about all these mysterious accidents? Accidents? Accidents? Those are cold-blooded murders – just not in the eyes of the people of Sandford. And so Nicholas Angel takes it upon himself to prove to everyone that these supposed accidents are real life murders and by doing so he opens a really big can of worms.

As you can tell from the synopsis, "Hot Fuzz" is once again a comedy that mocks every cliché and stereotype found in a particular genre. This time Wright and Pegg are taking on cop and murder mystery movies, and once again they have it down to the hilt. From "The Wickerman" to "Dirty Harry" you will find references, spoofs and undertones from a huge amount of genre films, masterfully assembled, repackaged or sometimes simply copied for effect. Unlike Quentin Tarantino who mindlessly shoplifts and regurgitates existing material, Wright and Pegg are masters at what they do, understanding exactly what makes things work, how to trigger a response, how to spot a stereotype or memorable moment from a film and to put it to work for them within a funny context. Not since Monty Python's heydays have I seen such keen observance and understanding of genres and the ability to mock it with such unflinching honesty, and with "Never taken a shortcut?" they have already managed to create a running gag of their own after only two films.

Just as impressive as the movie itself is its presentation in high definition on this HD-DVD version from Universal Home Entertainment. The image is meticulously clean and without a hint of grain or other blemishes. But more importantly, the image has a razor sharp definition with incredible detail. The cold-looking shots of the London offices where Angel learns of his new assignment are incredibly fine in their delineation and reveal edges that are putting the "high" in high definition. But also the rest of the movie is remarkable with its ability to reproduce the movie with incredible richness and detail. Textures are finely reproduced and colors are rich in their hues, bringing out the best of the lush English countryside. Overall, this is a very nice looking transfer that makes the film even more enjoyable to watch.

There are moments when "Hot Fuzz" goes all out and delivers some real action and with its Dolby Digital EX Plus audio track you couldn't ask for more. The dynamic range of the track is impressively reproducing quiet moments every bit as well as the most action packed roaring scenes. With a deep bass extension and clear high ends the frequency response is also without flaws and the track always sounds clear and transparent to bring across every subtle nuance of the mix. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable.

As extras Universal also dishes out the goods on this release. Starting with a great commentary track by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, which takes you behind the scenes of the film and gives you a glimpse at the genius at work here, the release also contains a number of featurettes. One of the takes a look at the press tour that promoted the movie, while in another featurette you get to see Wright and Pegg do a little scene from the film impersonating Michael Caine and Sean Connery.

To add to the fun, the release also comes with a number of outtakes and even a selection of deleted scenes. Rounded out with a trivia meter track that you can turn on while viewing the film, this disc has a lot of goodies for you to enjoy. And if that isn't enough, you can always flip the disc over and enjoy the whole thing n standard definition on a DVD player, because this is a combo release. Yeah, I know, it's not holding your interest much, but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless because as a result you will have to pay about $5 premium for this release.

Regardless however, "Hot Fuzz" is truly hot stuff. It is one of the funniest films of recent memory and it truly conjures up memories of the glorious Monty Python films like "Life Of Brian." Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are two of the hottest candidates for outrageous laughs these days, but not those moronic teenage gross-out kind-of-laughs that aren't even remotely funny. Instead they deliver smart observational humor from movies we love, turning them onto their heads and making us laugh at our own guilty pleasures. Seriously, "Hot Fuzz" is a film you have to see! You simply cannot afford to say you haven't seen this movie when someone asks you. "Hot Fuzz" is pop culture on steroids.


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