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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Edgar Wright
Cast:
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Robert Popper, Joe Cornish, Chris Waitt, Eric Mason, Billie Whitelaw
Writing Credits:
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg

Tagline:
Big Cops. Small Town. Moderate Violence.

Synopsis:
The team that created the outrageous horror/comedy Shaun of the Dead has teamed up again for this action/comedy about small town cops. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) may be London's best constable, but after getting on his superiors' bad sides, they have him transferred to the sleepy village of Sandford. Partnering there with an oafish lout (Nick Frost), Angel is initially bored solving inane "crimes." But he's able to get his groove back when he figures out that a series of accidents may have a sinister connection to them.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$5.848 million on 825 screens.
Domestic Gross
$23.618 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.40:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 7/31/2007

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Actor Simon Pegg and Writer/Director Edgar Wright
• 22 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “The Man Who Would Be Fuzz”
• Outtakes
• Storyboards
• Trivia Track
• “Chronicles of a Killer” Featurette
• “Danny’s Notebook”
• “The Fuzzball Rally: US Tour Piece” Featurette
• “Hot Funk”
• Trailers
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Hot Fuzz (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 31, 2007)

After their cult success spoof of horror flicks with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, filmmakers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright return to parody police flicks in 2007’s Hot Fuzz. We meet hotshot cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg), an officer so good at what he does that he makes all his coworkers look bad. To save face, Nicholas gets transferred from London to the sleepy village of Sandford.

There he meets inept new partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) and settles into the less-than-exciting world of Sandford. Despite the village’s quiet veneer, Nicholas suspects foul play when multiple deaths stem from a series of suspicious “accidents”. The movie follows his investigation as well as other aspects of his integration into Sandford society.

Stylistically, Fuzz is something of a mess. Though touted as a spoof of action flicks, it looks to me like its creators prefer horror. Only during the final act does the picture really embrace the action genre as Nicholas unleashes his inner Eastwood.

Those moments work well, though they do come out of nowhere and almost feel like part of a different film. The absurdity of the ultra-violence in the tweedy English countryside – and the involvement of so many older middle class Brits – makes the climax quite good, though I must say it feels like it takes too long to get there.

The flick’s length stands high on a list of its flaws. I think Fuzz suffers mostly from minor defects, as the overall package entertains, but some disappointment stems from its problems. The story could definitely use some tightening, as at two hours, it seems too long for this sort of comedy. It probably would have worked better if it ran 20 to 30 minutes shorter.

Much of the fat comes during the movie’s second act. The first portion of Fuzz involves exposition and satisfies as we get to know Nicholas and his new setting. Once he settles in and the murders take over, unfortunately, matters slow and become less satisfying. Sure, the movie offers crucial information during that period, but it progresses at a slower pace than necessary and tends to become somewhat tedious.

Again, the movie’s strange melange of genres creates a few drags. Until the climax, Fuzz doesn’t know what it wants to spoof, and as I mentioned, horror elements dominate. These don’t work all that well in a comedic sense; they’re insanely graphic, but otherwise they’re not that interesting. When the cop flick elements take over, they almost come out of nowhere and create a somewhat jarring effect.

Despite all of these complaints, I must acknowledge that I like Fuzz. This goes down as one of those “sum greater than the whole of its parts” flicks. I find it tough to discover aspects of the movie that appear truly noteworthy although I can come up with a mix of problematic bits. And yet I find myself pleased with the movie and think it provides a good piece of entertainment.

Will you find flawless cinema from Hot Fuzz? Nope, as its flaws appear obvious. Nonetheless, it has something at work that makes it fun. It may be something of a mess, but it’s an amusing mess that will likely hold up well to additional screenings. Though this may be “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” comedy, it has too many good segments for me to dismiss it.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Hot Fuzz appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As befit a recent flick, this one provided a solid transfer.

Only a smidgen of softness ever interfered with matters. I saw a little edge enhancement and a few shots seemed just a bit less defined than I’d like. Most of the movie looked detailed and tight. I saw a little shimmering, but no signs of jagged edges appeared, and source flaws seemed absent.

In terms of colors, Fuzz used very stylized tones. Much of the movie went with a cold bluish scheme, and only a few warmer bits occurred. The flick didn’t provide a particularly broad palette, though, so expect somewhat monochromatic colors much of the time. Blacks appeared dark and tight, while shadows were clear and smooth. This was a consistently good image.

In addition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX soundtrack of Hot Fuzz worked well. In keeping with the film’s exaggerated tone, the soundfield blasted us with loud elements. Most of these served to accentuate different minor effects and overstate the action in a comedic manner. The more normal aspects of the track blended together well and formed a nice sense of place.

The surrounds added good reinforcement and a fair amount of unique information. They rounded out the package well and created a fine feeling for the environment. While active, though, I thought the track wasn’t what I’d call really impressive. It’s loud but not all that immersive.

Quality seemed good. Speech was consistently natural and concise, with no edginess or other problems. Music was tight and dynamic, and effects followed suit. A few elements suffered from boomy bass, but the effects were usually clear and lively. I thought the bombastic tone of the mix was a little overwhelming at times, but for the most part, the soundtrack was quite good.

Fuzz includes a pretty long list of extras. These start with an audio commentary from writer/actor Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. They discuss story issues, cast and performances, stunts and effects, sets and locations, various influences and inspirations, music, and a few other production subjects.

For the most part, this becomes a fun commentary. Wright and Pegg maintain a lot of energy and enthusiasm, so they keep us amused. They also get into a fair number of interesting areas and provide a nice glimpse of the production.

Unfortunately, this comes with a lot of praise. Pegg and Wright constantly tell us how much they like this or that. These comments get old pretty quickly, though they don’t ruin the piece. It’s a good track, but the tons of praise makes it less enjoyable than I’d like.

By the way, throughout the commentary, you’ll hear Pegg refer to another track. It turns out the Region 2 version – and the Region 1 HD-DVD – include no fewer than four commentaries along with a bunch of other components we fail to find here. Boo! R1 SD-DVD fans should’ve gotten the full two-disc package.

Two other options accompany the movie. Storyboards let you see those designs as you watch the flick. At times you’ll notice a little Hot Fuzz logo in the upper right corner of the screen; when that occurs, hit “enter” and you’ll observe the art. These pop up about 15 times. I think the format would function better if the designs appeared automatically and allowed for direct storyboard to screen comparison, but this is still a nice little bonus.

The subtitle area also provides an optional Trivia Track. This reveals info about movie references, songs found in the flick, facts about police, locations, themes and minutiae, cast and crew, “cliché alerts” and a mix of other film tidbits. These pop up with good regularity, so they keep us informed and entertained. We find many fun notes about the flick, so the “Trivia Track” becomes a nice addition.

22 Deleted Scenes run a total of 20 minutes, 36 seconds. Normally I like to list all the names of these, but with so many, I’ll pass. Obviously most of these clips are brief; at two minutes, three seconds, “The Station Tour” is the longest. Like most of the others, it just adds a little to existing sequences. We find a minor excised subplot along the way; it’s nothing special. Some funny material crops up throughout the scenes, but none of them seem terribly memorable.

We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Wright. He tells us a little about the segments and gives us some thoughts about why they didn’t make the cut. Wright covers the sequences well and gives us good information here.

A couple of oddball clips appear. The Man Who Would Be Fuzz lasts 34 seconds, while Danny’s Notebook: The Other Side goes for 21 seconds. In the first, Pegg and Nick Frost act out a scene from the flick – as Sean Connery and Michael Caine. For “Notebook”, we see a crude piece of animation alluded to in the movie. Both are fun, though “Man” is the more amusing of the pair.

For another unusual piece, we locate the three-minute and 43-second Hot Funk. This provides some scenes from Fuzz with dubbed dialogue to make it acceptable for TV airing. It’s entertaining, especially when we get goofy substitutions like “wonker” and “clunt”.

We find a 10-minute and 22-second collection of Outtakes. Most of these offer the usual goof-ups and giggles, but some exceptions occur. We find some alternate lines and a few other amusing bits. These allow the outtakes to be more interesting than most.

A look behind the scenes comes via the 28-minute and seven-second The Fuzzball Rally: US Tour Piece. It follows Pegg, Frost and Wright as they travel around the US and promote the movie. This allows us a moderately interesting view of their experiences, but much of the show provides staged comedic bits. They goof around a lot, which makes this less valuable as a look at what publicity tours are like. It all gets kind of tedious before too long.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Balls of Fury, White Noise 2, Heroes Season One, and The Office. The disc also features two trailers for Fuzz: we get one theatrical and one “director’s cut”. Two UK TV spots appear as well.

Though not a wholly satisfying parody, Hot Fuzz offers enough entertainment to succeed. I’d like a little more consistency and a shorter effort, but I still think there’s enough amusing material here to make it enjoyable. The DVD offers very good picture and audio as well as a nice collection of extras. While I can’t say the movie bowled me over, there’s more than enough good work on display here to merit my recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 30
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main