Hot Fuzz – 3-Disc DVD Set (2007) dir. Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent
There’s a scene in “Hot Fuzz” when Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) takes Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) to his basement to show him his massive DVD collection. Since “Hot Fuzz” is a self-aware spoof of the genre, it’s only fitting that it produce a bloated pimped out special edition worthy of Butterman’s collection. This new DVD set does the film justice as it gives its fanboy audience everything they need to savour every last morsel of the film.
Of course there’s a host of running commentaries, no less than five, including a ‘guest’ commentary from Quentin Tarantino who has since brought Wright and the boys into his cine-clique of like-minded filmmakers. Though I can’t support this, five commentary tracks could be the most ever for a single film (if anyone has evidence, please let me know). Thank God Pegg, Frost and Wright are interminably watchable, because there’s literally hours of footage of the three goofing around in pre-production, on set, or on the press junket tour. In fact, there’s a whole disc devoted to the publicity tour around America.
Though I didn’t watch them all there are 22 deleted scenes which could also be a record for a DVD. The special effects featurettes which quickly shows how each of the main special effects shots were created are quick and dirty fun. But the best of them all is Edgar Wright’s home video film, made when he was 19, “Dead Right”. It’s classic VHS filmmaking at its best – low tech squibs, family members and local friends as cast, fun experimental camera moves and transitions. Getting through the entire 60 mins is tough, so I suggest watching the easily digestible “Making Of” section which is hosted by Edgar himself comparing “Hot Fuzz” to his original home made film. You will be surprised some of the similarities in style and tone.
Oh yeah, there is the film as well, which, for Edgar, Simon and Nick, is probably secondary to the extra experience of the DVD. The film itself is a fun poke at American action films and its culture clash with the British attitudes. Like “Shaun of the Dead” the filmmakers are well-versed in the genre and refer to it often as they’re making the film.
Simon Pegg plays Sgt. Nicholas Angel - a British “Dirty Harry” type who is used to the big action of the big city. When he gets assigned to a pathetically serene and lifeless countrytown his talents are wasted. But when Angel and his enthusiastic partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) discover a village conspiracy involving various nefarious characters their guns finally come out ablazing.
Unfortunately “Hot Fuzz” isn’t as lovable as “Shaun of the Dead”. Pegg is great as the stuck up super cop, but I miss his everyman slacker charm. Also, at two hours, “Hot Fuzz” is 30mins too long. Their idol, “Bad Boys II”, arguably, can get away with a two-hour plus length because it can successfully distract our attention with a dozen action set pieces, but “Hot Fuzz” is light on action and heavy on plot and dialogue. The film just can’t sustain that much plot – and indeed it wears the film down.
The film is also very very loud. In spoofing the genre Wright has also mimicked it’s style by using a multitude of unnecessary close-ups and montages aided by overloud sound effects. Every door closing is followed by a ‘woosh’ or an extra loud ‘action slam’. We get the point after the first 15 mins, but as the film progresses the technique can become annoying.
The finale does get it right though. It’s like “The Wild Bunch” with tea and crumpets. A series of Bay-worthy action set pieces and car chases, slow motion shot-guns, glib-one-liners and cringe-inducing gory death scenes. By the end the quota of dead bodies, explosions, and spent shotgun shells has been achieved.
Buy it here: Hot Fuzz (3-Disc Collector's Edition)