With "razor-bright wit" (Newsweek) and "an excellent cast" (Variety) including Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights), Raquel Welch (Naked Gun 33 1/2), Tom Skerritt (Contact) and Yul Brynner (The King And I), this uproarious comedy about an incompetent police is an absolute laugh riot! Adapted from the satirical 87th Precinct mysteries, Fuzz is "a slick police thriller" (Los Angeles Times) so rip-roaringly funny, it would be a crime not to see it.
The plain-clothesed policemen of Boston's 87th Precinct are armed and dangerous - and the streets just aren't safe from their bumbling detective work! And when a mysterious extortionist begins carrying out his fiendish scheme to assassinate prominent city official, no tactic is too outrageous for this goofy, ham-fisted squad who will stop at nothing to solve the high-profile case. But can these dim-witted detectives muster the skill to save their leaders - or will the city fall into the grips of a ruthless, diabolical madman?
A couple of weeks before his breakout performance in 'Deliverance' and his domination of the 1970s box office began, Burt Reynolds led an ensemble cast in 'Fuzz'. The film was based on the novel of the same name, which was the 21st novel in the 87th Precinct crime series by Ed McBain, one of the many pseudonyms for Evan Hunter, who wrote the film's screenplay.
Transporting the story from New York City, where the novels are based, to Boston, where the film was shot, the audience is presented multiple different cases being worked on by the detectives. 'Fuzz' comes across different than most police-story films, and more realistic to what police deal with and resembling a Robert Altman film, sans the overlapping dialogue. Better yet, 'Fuzz' has the feel of a TV show, which is not meant to be a negative. The characters are enjoyable and it would be fun to revisit them, like with 'Barney Miller'.
As 'Fuzz' opens, the precinct headquarters is under repairs. Detective. Meyer (Jack Weston) takes a phone call and the voice on the other end is clearly recognizable as Yul Brynner, who will become known as the Deaf Man. He threatens that Parks Commissioner Cooper will be killed unless he receives $5,000 by noon the next in $5 and $10 unmarked bills. The police pay little heed until the Deaf Man makes known that is threats are serious.
The police have other serious matters to contend with as well, such as a series of robberies and two kids who are setting homeless people on fire. Unfortunately for Detective Carella (Burt Reynolds), his stakeout during the latter goes poorly for him. There is also a rapist on the loose, which is why Detective McHenry (Raquel Welch) is newly assigned to the station. She distracts almost every guy, which seems a bit odd at first because she has such a heavy coat, but once she removes it, her tight sweater and jeans show them to be prescient.
Hunter's script is well written due in large part to his fleshing out of the characters and making them interesting. In what would likely be cut from most films because it doesn't advance the plot, Carella's wife is introduced and she is deaf. Although McHenry is the desire of many men, especially Detective Kling (Tom Skerritt), who gets her in a sleeping bag during a stakeout, she gets to show she is a capable officer and not just a pretty face. Even minor characters like Det. Brown (James McEachin) get an awesome moment to shine, as seen when he deals rather forcefully with a man who is too comfortable referring to Brown as a "nigger" during a conversation with him. By making his characters engaging, Hunter engages the audience to invest in the film.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents 'Fuzz' on a 25GB Region A Blu-ray disc in a standard blue keepcase. The disc boots up directly to the menu screen without any promotional advertisements.
The video has been given a 1080p/AVC-MPEG-4 encoded transfer displayed at 1.85:1. During the opening credits there is light bleed and black scratches on right side of the frame, but they clear up. Colors are serviceable with hues reaching their brightest saturation while two detectives follow a suspect through an open-air market. Facial tomes are consistently accurate,
The depth of field used isn't very deep. Fine detail is on display inside the precinct headquarters as textures and wear on the walls can be seen, but background objects tend to be soft on occasions. Blacks are adequately inky, but during night exteriors objects in the distance get lost in the darkness and crush occurs inside Mayor Scanlon's car. The film grain increases in low light. The adult bookstore nudie films are intentionally scratched.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Dialogue is clear and understandable, although the voice dubbing is noticeably poor. Composer Dave Grusin's has delivered a good, funky soundtrack that offers some bass activity.
The effects track delivers moderate power for the explosions and car crash, and combined with the high-pitched notes the Deaf Man's girlfriend plays on the harpsichord, they reveal a satisfying dynamic range.
'Fuzz' offers an entertaining blend of action and comedy, and concludes with a believable climax that ties up some of the cases. I hadn't seen in many years and was glad to see it still holds up. The Blu-ray delivers as good an HD experience as can be expected without a needed restoration. It is a shame more effort wasn't put into the extras with the cast members.