- Street Date:
- September 22nd, 2009
- Reviewed by:
- Nate Boss
- Review Date: 1
- February 11th, 2010
- Movie Release Year:
- Universal Studios
- 121 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated R
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
The highly anticipated followup to 'Shaun of the Dead,' reuniting director Edgar Wright with collaborative actor Simon Pegg and sidekick Nick Frost, 'Hot Fuzz' takes aim at the buddy cop action subgenre, maintaining the same sense of screwy, out of place British humor in this second entry into the "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy (of which, the third film has yet to be filmed).
Super cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) puts the job before his personal life, completely unable to turn the switch off. After putting his London colleagues to shame with an arrest record 400 percent more than any other officer, Angel is "promoted" and forcibly transfered to Sandford, Glauchester, a model village with the lowest crime rate in all of England.
The town is eerie in its perfection, though locals encourage some relatively minor indiscretions so as to keep appearances on the streets. But with the upcoming grading on the area for the yearly "best village," more and more "accidents" are piling up, with gruesomely violent deaths all a part of the pattern. With local dimwit cop Danny Butterman (Frost), the son of local law head Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent) at his side, Angel is set to uncover the truth behind the mystery surrounding Sandford, regardless of what repercussions it will have for the men and women he is set to protect.
'Hot Fuzz' doesn't succeed due to an all star cast. If anything, it has anything but, with stars like Bill Nighy and Cate Blanchett receiving cameo (or even uncredited) roles, despite their great performances. Steve Coogan and Peter Jackson also show their mugs, ever so briefly, for the tiniest bits of familiarity. The stars of this show are the two doofuses who held our attention in 'Shaun' -- Pegg and Frost. Sure, other actors litter scenes, and some have nice credentials (and give fine performances in this film), but the entire film exists solely to be another buddy movie between the British odd pair.
Pegg's Angel, with his extreme seriousness and professionalism to a "t," is a perfect match for Frost's Danny, who is more obsessed with cop movies than being a cop. The film takes a turn when the two opposites find common ground once drunk, and sit down to a double feature of films referenced multiple times earlier in the movie: 'Point Break' and 'Bad Boys II.' Once the duo view the films together, they change, in a way, taking on more extreme personalities, leading to one of the most over the top action sequences in cinema, as the entire third act of 'Hot Fuzz' is one long, drawn out shoot out/confrontation.
The charm of 'Hot Fuzz' is the same found in 'Shaun of the Dead' that creates infinite replay value, the fact that every single event in the film is telegraphed or referenced a mile away. Nothing is random, and random conversations that may seem like throwaway filler all come back to have a purpose later. The telegraphing is expert, at least, especially the film references that always come back around to play a vital role. 'Fuzz' doesn't disrespect the films it references, not even in the slightest. If anything, it makes the films even better. It is somewhat hilarious to see every store containing a rack of the same action movies, with no signs of horror, children's flicks, or comedy. It's all Seagal, all Michael Bay, all Chuck Norris, all the time.
It's all fun and games, and a jolly good time, but that doesn't make 'Hot Fuzz' perfect, by any means. This second coming of Wright and Pegg in America doesn't hold a candle to their first work. The pacing drags quite a bit, running off on tangents (that do pay off, eventually, even if minor) that don't progress the plot in the lightest, while the takes on the genre it lampoons aren't as widespread, as they stay focused on a set few films, rather than the rules of an entire genre. The acting is better, and the cast more diverse in personality, but the film keeps nodding and winking, rather than playing things straight, even if just occasionally, a tactic that 'Shaun' didn't need to employ.
Still, 'Hot Fuzz' is a great flick, flawed as it is. Chemistry is strong between the actors, and love for film is on display at all times, as 'Hot Fuzz' is more a thank you letter to the films of the past than a step towards the future of cinema. Laughs are to be found often, including an uproarious take (that makes me laugh hard no matter how many times I watch the film) on Baz Luhrman's 'Romeo + Juliet,' a thoughtful insight on audiences who will only be exposed to the classics through the post-modern takes on them, much like 'Hot Fuzz' is, itself. Action fans will find as much to enjoy as comedy nuts here, and that's not a bad thing in any way.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Hot Fuzz' arrives by way of Universal as a late to the game HD DVD holdover on a BD50 Dual Layer Disc that is reported to be region free (aka playable on any Blu-ray player, regardless of country). There are no trailers or prompts before the main menu (besides a loading screen), and the menu itself doesn't have a looping audio, as it alternates across numerous different background tracks.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Hot Fuzz' arrives on Blu-ray with a VC-1 1080p encode in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in what I can say without doubt is a bit of something called reference material.
Colors are bold and deep, while skin tones are perfectly natural, the only times they go off key is in odd lighting shots (hardly the fault of the transfer if it's a part of the film!). Detail is utterly brilliant (as is seen in the constant appearance of pores, moles, and other facial features that leap off each actor), with the tiniest veneer of grain that isn't tweaked in any fashion. Blacks are the perfect inky black, not too bright, and at the same time never an abyss of information swallowing. Whites are natural, stray hairs pop fantastically, sky shots are pure and natural, edges are clean and 100% natural, while noise doesn't exist but in a few brief moments.
In short, what you got with the HD DVD, you get again with the Blu-ray. It's hard to expand upon perfection, but matching it is most certainly welcome.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
What once was a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 EX track has now become a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 extravaganza. While there isn't a real upgrade in the video, the audio gets a bump in clarity and emphasis, much like the Blu-ray "port" of 'Shaun of the Dead.'
This track is, in a word, loud. Loud, loud, loud. Shake your walls, knock over books or DVDs on shelves, piss off the neighbors, over the top rip roaring earth shatteringly loud...and I loved every minute of it.
Dialogue doesn't have a problem coming through the sonic barrage, as it is always clear and comprehendible, amazingly. Atmospheric effects are everywhere, in every channel, sweeping across the room like it were a ping pong table. Crowded rooms sound busier than quiet scenes, active and lively in every angle and shot.
The third act of the film, the action orgasm, as it were, is absolutely ridiculous...not that that's a bad thing. My subwoofer nearly had a seizure due to how much was being thrown at it, nonstop. Movement and localization in gunfire is constant, and it seems the gunfire plays a game of "anything you can do, I can do better" with itself, constantly upping its own ante.
The key element of this mix is the bass, the overwhelming, so busy it's stupid low end that emphasizes the entire film, from the moment Angel first appears on screen. It's thunderous, booming from even the tiniest door closure. Just like in 'Shaun,' jump cuts get a massive rattle from the bass as they sweep through the room. It's so over the top, much like the film, that it's hard to imagine the film without it.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
Lordy, Lordy. If you thought the HD DVD for 'Hot Fuzz' was loaded (and by this site's measure, it most certainly was), you're in for information overload. There was a three disc Collector's Edition DVD release shortly after the HD DVD bow, and it was more loaded than Rip Torn on a week long bender. For this Blu-ray release, the two editions have been combined, in a way, creating the "Ultimate Edition" that the box art promises. There are enough extras here to make one hate the promise of supplements in the future, as this disc is beyond extensive.
For this review, any exclusives found on the HD DVD are not being considered exclusive. Only brand new content exclusive to this release is going in the HD Exclusive Content section, hence the scoring discrepancy between this review and the HD DVD.
- Audio Commentary - With Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. This track includes an explanation of the opening sirens, name drops on cameo roles and how they came to be, conversations with Cate Blanchett, montage inspiration, happenstance and unintentional gags, the real reason behind the swan in the film, and the intended joke, character inspiration, DVD theft (from the huge fake collection in the film), allusions that always come true, cliche, the progression of proximity of Angel to each murder, the idea of making great sequels to awful films, dog dubbing, and more. A fun track, full of banter, though many stories are cut short or just alluded to, like we listeners should be in "the know" of these two's in jokes.
- Audio Commentary - With the Sandford Police Service (actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon, and Olivia Colman). The selection of Angel's badge number, discussion on why they can't rewind the film, Bill Nighy anecdotes, stories from cast members exaggerating and making the set impossible to work on (due to hilarity, not difficulty), unbelievable roles the crew has done outside of 'Hot Fuzz,' references to a gay kiss (and an even gayer kiss), discussion of the DVD extras, hidden plot reveals, and circle jerks are the discussion topics here. Eventually, this track devolves into saying lines along with the film. Possibly the least interesting track of the bunch.
- Audio Commentary - With Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino. The pair of directors don't so much discuss 'Hot Fuzz' as they do films in general, as this track is more a conversation between friends and their film experiences and insights, rather than a portal to any 'Fuzz' information. From acknowledgments of extreme home video double dips (the reason for this track's inclusion in the first DVD re-release), to jokes about movie trailer guys, 'Hot Fuzz 2' discussion, constant trivia and name dropping, and Wrights wishes to have made a 'Grindhouse' trailer based off the Andy characters in this film titled 'Maximum 'Tache.' A fun track, to be sure, but not exactly an informative one.
- Audio Commentary - With the Sandford Village People (no, not them. Actors Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton (who played James Bond a couple of times), Paul Freeman, and Edward Woodward). The actors discuss plenty of on set anecdotes, and how easily they fall into a lull just watching the film. They discuss the Wales cityscape, fond memories of the set and the fun they had, with a constant jovial tone. Logistics of non-driving actors "driving" on set are discussed, as well. This track starts tediously slow, but makes up for it in the second and third acts.
- Audio Commentary - With the Real Fuzz (Andy Leafe and Nick Endland) - Two real life veteran police officers, who helped with the research and authenticity of the film, discuss the real life event of going to schools, and how they would bring hats that weren't their own, due to the children wanting to wear their garb, the chasing of thieves, just like in the film, even for something as silly as a piece of candy, lingo they've never heard before, politics between big town and small town police and civilian interaction (in regards to reprimands), a real life use of a mine used in a country home (as a doorstop, no less!), real life munition findings, goofy mishaps and eccentricities in the Sandford force (such as shower caps over police helmets in the rain), and more.
- U-Control - The U-Control feature has two aspects, a storyboard reel, and the Fuzz-O-Meter, neither of which can be played concurrently. The Fuzz-O-Meter keeps track of the song list, minor bits of behind the scenes info and trivia, repeated gags and lines, in addition to keeping track of references to other movies. This track has rapid coverage, rarely lingering, rarely not being present. The storyboards are a series of black and white pen drawings framing scenes (though they aren't thoroughly followed, as the film comparison side by side shows). They are nowhere near as constant a presence as the trivia track side of this feature.
- Inadmissible: Deleted Scenes (SD, 20 min) - With optional commentary. This series of scenes runs fast and furious, with just minute little details and lines removed from the film. A few nods to 'Shaun of the Dead,' as well as a couple bits of physical comedy and a subplot involving the children of the village.
- Outtakes (SD, 10 min) - A series of screwed up lines, spontaneous laughter, a few improvs, your typical gag reel.
- Conclusive: We Made 'Hot Fuzz' (SD, 29 min) - A behind the scenes look at the creation of 'Hot Fuzz,' featuring interviews from cast and crew, as well as looks at the living situations of actors involved, line reading sessions, filming action segments, and a dentist's nightmare considering the teeth on display. Hoo-ah!
- Speculative: Video Blogs (SD, 30 min) - There are thirteen video blogs in total, with a play all feature for ease of use. These short features are to the point, sometimes with no point at all, and are mostly brief interview segments, that are far more personal than found in other features.
- Forensic: Featurettes (SD, 48 min) - Eight featurettes are included, with a play all option. These features are free spirited, and hit a wide range of topics. Cameos are shown and explained, as are references to famous action films in the more memorable features, while a few lackluster, forgettable segments feature on filming and interviews. The most memorable moment is the go-through on the worksheet on used and not used ideas as Pegg and Wright were plotting out the film from scratch.
- Photographic: Galleries (HD) - There are two photo galleries, one for, umm, photos, the other for posters for the film.
- Hearsay: Plot Holes & Comparisons (SD, 9 min) - Three plot holes are shown for 'Hot Fuzz,' in a manner very reminiscent of 'Shaun of the Dead.' Additionally, there are six comparison shots on how CG was used in the film.
- Falsified: Dead Right (SD, 40 min) - One of Wright's earliest films is included, as well, a cop/killer themed little homemade goodie. It's somewhat funny to watch, as there are blurs over brand names, horrific acting, a lame score, and effects on par with 'Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter.' There are some laughs to be had (particularly at how horrible it is), but all in all, the film is as amateur as it is amateur. There is also two commentaries trashing the "film" (with Wright on one, Pegg and Frost on the other), as well as a making of feature (SD, 10 min).
- The Fuzzball Rally (SD, 71 min) - With optional commentary by Wright, Pegg, Frost, and Joe Cornish. Follow the guys as they tour America, immediately following their promotional tours down under and in Europe. This documentary covers the crew as they get interviewed, from a behind the scenes angle, with little to no restraint. They praise 'Little Man' and 'White Chick' without being sarcastic, act incredibly homoerotic (and that's putting it politely), visit famous film and historical sites, get taped as they urinate and play in the toilet, and generally act like buffoons as they tour their little film around theaters for nearly a month. A very thorough, oddball doc.
- The Man Who Would be Fuzz (SD, 1 min) - Pegg takes on a scene with a stereotypical British voice. It's actually quite funny.
- Hot Funk (SD, 3 min) - A television friendly set of scenes, replacing cuss words with softer terms. I hardly think piss is a bad word, but all in all, a silly little montage of scenes. I can only imagine how funny these alternate cop outs are in the context of the entire run of the film.
- Danny's Notebook: The Other Side (SD, 1 min) - Referenced in the film, see what's on the other side of Officer Danny's notebook that he uses for cartooning rather than note taking.
- Additional Video Blogs - A two part section covering VW Blogs (SD, 21 min) and iTunes Blogs (SD, 16 min). Each section comes with a play all option, for ease of play. The VW Blogs feature a stunt driving focus, with Pegg and Frost discussing stunt work, with clips of the actors in cars as extreme car stunts are performed, then we get a look at guns, improvisation, a sit down interview session in front of a crowd. and finally an opening gala reception. The iTunes section features four "fuzz-casts," which feature Frost, Pegg, and Wright discussing the inspirations for 'Fuzz,' differences between 'Fuzz' and 'Shaun,' the differences between the real life actors and their characters, but, for the most part, this is just friendly random banter between friends, a real time waster.
- Trailers (SD) - A gallery of trailers, from the theatrical, two UK television spots, and a director's cut trailer. It's great how they're quite different, not just the same crap over and over.
- Storyboard Gallery - Twenty seven sets of storyboards, to be exact. A huge, huge pile of drawings.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
'Hot Fuzz' may not be as splendidly fun as the film that came before it ('Shaun of the Dead,' not 'Dead Right'), but it's still a humorous action-packed mixture of spoof and homage from Wright and Pegg. The film stays enjoyable no matter how many times it's viewed and re-viewed, with layer upon layer of hidden gags and references. The Blu-ray release includes top notch video, splendid audio, and far, far too many extras for its own good. Buy this disc at the reasonable catalog price, and you'll find yourself with days worth of time spent wading through all the extras. A bargain at twice the price, and a must own title.
- BD50 Dual Layer Disc
- Region All
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Spanish DTS 5.1
- French DTS 5.1
- English SDH, Spanish, French
- Audio Commentaries
- Deleted Scenes
- Bonus Movie
- Storyboards and Galleries
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