Saturday, April 21, 2007

Clever Action Film (rated 5 stars)

by Edgar Wright

One of the pleasures of genre films is seeing filmmakers work within a set of rules and play with conventions. The usual strategy for a parody is to choose a film or set of films and then make fun of the absurdity of the situation. With Hot Fuzz the approach could be to take a few cop / action films and then show the absurdity of the situations, but the team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (along with actor Nick Frost) do a lot more.
I first became a fan of the team when by accident a few years ago I caught the series Spaced which briefly aired on a channel in Canada and then seemed to disappear. Luckily I was able to find out more about the series from the fan web site. Spaced is a unique sitcom that has usual sitcom conventions, but is filled with elaborate references to science fiction films, video games and other elements of popular culture. I instantly loved it have been a fan ever since.
Following up Shaun of the Dead with Hot Fuzz had me excited as with the earlier film they created a wonderful, but respectful reworking of the zombie film that embraced and poked fun at the conventions of the genre. In Hot Fuzz they build the film around characters and situations that work within the rules of the genre while having fun with them. What is great about the film is that it doesn’t ever become patronizing or insult the intelligence of the audience. The jokes grow out of the plot and characters and there are some wonderful surprises and action sequences. Beautifully structured and never straying outside the well-defined lines of the cop movie, it manages to lovingly embrace the genre while having fun with it. It’s solid, intelligent and funny.

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