Blast from the Past
an all-too-brief overview of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s career and then proceeded to a review of Timecop (1994)? All will be explained today, and the idea behind this (very atypical) review can be summed up in two words: Hot Fuzz.
I remember seeing commercials for Hot Fuzz (2007) when it first came out, but I never went to see it in theatres. I eventually did see it and loved every moment of it. It is an unusual film in that it manages to successfully mesh two genres and parody them both. One genre is the mindless action romp, such as Bad Boys II or Point Break. (In this regard, Timecop may not have been the best movie to review. However, it fit the theme of the blog far better than, say, Hard Target.) What is the other genre, you may ask? Why, none other than the traditional country-village mystery!
Our main character is Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg. He’s a brilliant cop: extremely dedicated to his job, getting distinction after distinction, and performing his duties so well that his fellow police officers decide to get rid of him. After all, if he stays on in London, he will continue to be exceptional, and they simply can’t have that.
So off he goes to crime-free Sanford, in Gloucestershire, a smashing village that has won the Village of the Year competition for goodness-knows-how-many years in a row. Naturally, this means the village is as crime-free as they come. But Angel isn’t satisfied, and the situation doesn’t improve when he finds out that a drunk driver he has arrested turns out to be his new partner, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Angel is also unhappy at how the village tends to bend official police-protocol.
Ah, but that’s just the beginning. In the final half hour, the movie suddenly switches gears completely and the movie turns into one of those shoot-em-up action movies from the 1980s or 90s. The switch manages to feel seamless, and the movie doesn’t treat anybody lightly. You will see old ladies handling guns and priests blaspheming. And the style is very reminiscent of these old movies. (This is sort of why I think Hard Target may have been a better movie to review if it fit the theme of the blog a bit more. Somewhat like this movie, it goes from a stunt-filled action movie to a shoot-’em-up romp.) I really can’t say more without risking spoilers.
What makes this movie so good? Well for starters, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are comic geniuses. They know just the right way to make their audience laugh. They get every inflection, every humorous action scene, and every daily-interaction-with-the-village scene right. They manage to have some sly fun suggesting that the two officers will soon have more-than-a-purely-professional partnership. It also helps that their characters are very sympathetic.
In fact, I have only one (minor) reservation: the gore. I personally loved it, but I bring it up just in case. It is ridiculously fake and exaggerated (and results in a brilliant final joke), but because of its level, some people might want to think twice before seeing this movie. It’s also mainly for this reason that I wouldn’t recommend it to be watched in front of more sensitive children (who probably won’t appreciate the brilliant country-village mystery parody in the first place).
Overall, however, Hot Fuzz is a small masterpiece in the comedy genre. The only thing tying me down from making this review longer is the intense desire not to spoil more than I can. If you’re a fan of action movies or classic mysteries, you’ll probably like it. If you’re an aficionado of both, such as myself, odds are you’ll love it.