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Nicholas Angel, the finest cop in London, is so good that he makes everyone else look bad. So Angel's superiors send him to the sleepy village of Sandford, where he is partnered with Danny Butterman, a huge action movie fan. But Angel soon learns that Sandford is not what it seems. It's time for these small-town cops to break out some big-city justice.
For more about Hot Fuzz and the Hot Fuzz Blu-ray release, see Hot Fuzz Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 28, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton, Billie Whitelaw
» See full cast & crew
Hot Fuzz Blu-ray Review
Universal delivers a top-flight Blu-ray of a modern Parody classic.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 28, 2009
No, I have not ever fired my gun up in the air and gone 'ahhhh.'
How is this for a sobering statistic? According to IMDb.com, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz -- two fantastic parodies done absolutely right -- grossed a paltry $13.4 million and $23.6 million in U.S. domestic gross, respectively, while Epic Movie raked in $39.7 and the repulsive Meet the Spartans just a bit less, coming in at $38.2 million. None of those numbers are Tiatnic-esque, obviously, but it sends the message that moviegoers seem to be embracing lazy filmmaking, eschewing artistic merit, smart scripts, and a command of the genre in general in favor of a cheap laugh that's as fleeting as a glass of iced tea on a hot Texas afternoon. On the other side of the ledger, hope is somewhat restored with the fact that both Shaun and Hot Fuzz currently hold an impressive 8.0/10 user rating on the site, while Epic flounders at 2.2/10 and Spartans ranks slightly higher at 2.4/10. It's an interesting dichotomy to be sure, but at least it appears in hindsight that the better movies of this quartet are getting their just due with fans.
London's top cop, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg, Star Trek), is highly intelligent and extremely motivated, dedicated to his duty and a model of proper police work. He's so good, in fact, that he's been promoted Sergeant and rather unceremoniously booted out of the city and given a duty in the small town of Sandford, Gloucestershire, because he's making the rest of London's finest look rather bad. Unaccustomed to life in the small town, Angel finds himself busting underage drinkers at the local pub and chasing a loose swan around town instead of ridding London of its heinous criminal element. He's partnered with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead), a bumbling overweight officer with a craving for action that's influenced by his love of Cop films. Soon enough, the peaceful town becomes home to a string of terrible deaths; Angel suspects murder, but the other officers on the force reject his wild claims and pronounce each grisly corpse an accident victim. Angel believes local businessman Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton, License to Kill) to be centrally involved in the deaths, but Angel is finding it increasingly difficult to gather any evidence against him. Has Angel lost his edge in the idyllic small town atmosphere, or will his instincts lead him towards a deeper, darker discovery that could threaten to challenge all he knows about Sandford?
The team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright continue to impress with their ability to fully realize the potential of the Parody genre and hit the nail on the head in just about every single frame of their movies. There's very little about Hot Fuzz that doesn't work; the movie does slow down here and there and the two-hour runtime feels a little bit on the lengthy side for a picture of this sort, but otherwise there's little to complain about. Despite a low budget, Wright squeezes an enormous amount of pizzazz out of the film. Of course, it's driven primarily by the two most crucial elements to a Parody: the quality of the script and the ability of the actors to pull it off. Don't be fooled by the "Parody" monicker; though the genre has become fairly brain-dead over the past several years, Hot Fuzz recalls the quality of Mel Brooks but not necessarily the style; Wright's films are far flashier and a bit more subtle in their humor, but they're no less effective. Through all the laughs, the film enjoys an extremely high quality production value that gives the illusion of a much bigger budget; the special effects aren't mind-boggling but they're certainly effective and fun. The sets look fantastic and the props appear authentic, but once again it all plays second fiddle to the quality of the script and the performances of the actors, two factors which lend more to the overall excellence of any film than simply throwing money haphazardly into secondary and tertiary aspects of the process in hopes of obscuring a lousy plot or poor performances.
Tackling buddy cop movies, much of Hot Fuzz's scripted success stems from the fact that it doesn't even attempt to hide the movies it takes aim at. Nick Frost's character Danny is an Action movie junkie who dreams of living the lives of excitement, danger, clever reactionary dialogue, and slow-motion gunfights that populate the fictional worlds of flashy cops on the silver screen. Among his favorites are Bad Boys II and Point Break; his obsession with the genre allows Hot Fuzz an easy way to poke fun at the clichés that populate such films, whether he simply recalls his favorite scenes; watches them on video; or by the end of the film, experiences the ultimate Action movie shot: "fir[ing] two guns whilst flying through the air." This represents an excellent means through which to incorporate part of the primary source of humor; not only do audiences actually hear some of the important lines of dialogue ("this $#!% just got real" from Bad Boys II) or see some of the clips from the actual films that are the target of parody (Keanu Reeves shooting into the air in Point Break) that are later repeated by the main characters in Hot Fuzz, but it provides an absolute reference point for viewers that aren't necessarily familiar with those films. Of course, there are plenty of other moments throughout that aren't quite as obvious, for instance the use of a refrain from Lethal Weapon 3, a Rambo-esque "gearing up" scene, or simply capturing several shots in a style eerily reminiscent of Michael Bay (director of the Bad Boys films).
Aside from the scenes that offer a rather direct attack on the material, the primary plot itself incorporates more overreaching clichés that make Hot Fuzz a complete Parody film. There's the obligatory foot chase through town replete with a "jump over a series of fences" scene; the feeling-out period between partners; the personality split that threatens to tear the partners apart (usually one's old and close to retirement while the other's young and eager [Lethal Weapon], or one's reserved and deliberate while the other is a guns-blazing, ask questions later sort [Tango & Cash], but here the paradigm centers around one that's completely serious and grounded in reality while the other is not-so-serious and living in a fantasy world); goofy dialogue; investigative montages; and much more. Also helping the film immensely is the aggressive gore that springs up from time to time. It's rather over-the-top and in another sort of picture some of it would rival the more grotesque out there, but even beheaded, charred, and impaled-from-the-top-down corpses take on a humorous tone in context. The performances tie it all together, selling both the parody and taking the edge off the brutality of the film; Pegg and Frost are fantastic, of course, but the real star of the film is Timothy Dalton and his deliciously over-the-top effort. He never really disguises what his role in the film is, but his ability to keep Angel on his toes and put on a deceptive charm that doesn't sway audience opinion but keeps it from complete confidence in the initial assumption of who he really is all makes him the film's best all-around character.
Hot Fuzz Blu-ray, Video Quality
Hot Fuzz is promoted to Blu-ray with a high quality 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. Colors look fantastic throughout; a character that audiences briefly meet at the beginning of the film, Jeanine (portrayed by Cate Blanchett), wears a bright blue dust mask that positively leaps off the screen, particularly against the white walls and biohazard gear she's wearing. Another example comes in chapter 12 with the bright yellow crime scene vests worn by the Sandford police officers as they investigate the scene of a brutal pair of deaths. Hot Fuzz isn't particularly grainy. It's visible in the background but appears about as light as can be without vanishing completely. Still, there's a superb amount of fine detail throughout, though it doesn't quite reach the level of "exceptional." Sandford's brick-laden streets look absolutely fantastic; faces reveal a good bit of texture but could stand to appear a bit more deep and natural; and foliage takes on a distinctive appearance rather than looking like a clump of green mass. Even the film's gore sparkles; a pair of severed heads on the pavement or a close-up of a charred body reveals incredible amounts of detail. Hot Fuzz's Blu-ray transfer takes on a fine sense of depth, particularly during outdoor scenes. Black levels aren't bad could but could stand to be a shade or two darker, and flesh tones generally look good even if they take on a slightly golden tint. Despite a few very minor complaints, Hot Fuzz looks fantastic on Blu-ray, the transfer serving up a very high quality and film-like appearance that should please viewers.
Hot Fuzz Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Hot Fuzz bursts onto Blu-ray with a high-octane DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack with a quality reminiscent of both Universal's best efforts and the best on the format from any studio. Hot Fuzz delivers a full surround presentation that's noticed even before the film's first image appears on-screen. The track produces a nearly deafening and room-filling audio presence as sirens blare into the soundstage to fantastic effect. This opening salvo is only the beginning; the following two hours deliver a nonstop assault of sonic delight: cars scream around the listening area, a low-flying helicopter roars overhead, and a train rushes through the soundstage to precision effect. Each and every loud sound effect comes to virtual life with startling clarity that's not hindered by the aggressive surround use or powerful volume at reference level. The track also excels at delivering more subtle sound effects, too, and the quieter scenes often feature a realistic background atmosphere. Angel's voiceover at the beginning of the film booms, but dialogue evens out for the rest of the picture with absolutely no technical issues to hinder its crisp and natural delivery. Hot Fuzz's final act is littered with gunshots; each one explodes with a full-blown presence, the shots emanating from every speaker and allowing the listener to feel positively engulfed in the mayhem. For reference- and grin-inducing purposes, they don't come much better than Hot Fuzz on Blu-ray.
Hot Fuzz Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Hot Fuzz makes its highly-anticipated Blu-ray debut with an absolutely enormous collection of extras, the package headlined by a whopping eight (really 5+1+2, more on that later) commentary tracks. The first features Writer/Actor Simon Pegg and Writer/Director Edgar Wright. It's a great track to start things off; the two clearly enjoy the opportunity to sit down together and discuss Hot Fuzz in an informative but none-too-serious manner. The track is easy to digest and generally fun to listen to. They cover the expected angles -- including a nice discussion on their study of movie clichés for use in the film -- but with a natural, easygoing flair that makes this track a must-listen for fans. The Sandford Police Service: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon, and Olivia Colman populate track number two. The group commentary almost by rule takes on a humorous tone with plenty of goofy insights and observations and lighthearted anecdotes from the set. They do fairly well to not excessively speak over one another, but there's plenty of laughter throughout and this one makes for a nice listen for the film's most ardent, "seen it three dozen times" fans. The third track features Writer/Director Edgar Wright and Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill). Perhaps the silliest of all the offerings, this one often falls off-task but is nevertheless a great listen. Wright and Tarantino come off as two of the most enthusiastic filmmakers in the business and have a great time discussing the Buddy Cop genre, the integration of the clichés into the film, and plenty more.
The Sandford Village People: Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton, Paul Freeman, & Edward Woodward comprise the cast of commentary track number four. Taking almost a minute and a half to get going, it becomes clear early on that this is to be one of the lesser of the quintet of primary tracks. Dalton, no surprise, dominates, and while there's some fine tidbits here, it's best left for a rainy afternoon with nothing better to do. The final full-length commentary features "The Real Fuzz:" Andy Leafe & Nick Eckland. This duo are real-life rural England cops who aided in the research for the script. Moving past the full-length tracks and digging into the video-based extras first yields The Fuzzball Rally -- Uncut (480p, 1:11:09). This lengthy supplement follows Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost as they promote Hot Fuzz on a four-week, 10-city tour. This piece also comes with an optional commentary (the "+1" commentary) with Wright, Pegg, Frost, & Joe Cornish. Hot Fuzz is also BonusView (Blu-ray profile 1.1) enabled with Universal's U-Control functionality. There are two separate video tracks available. The first, Fuzz-o-Meter, is a pop-up trivia track that conveys much of the same information as found in any of the various commentaries. The second, Storyboards, simply showcases a collection of hand-drawn storyboards as they relate to the finished product in each scene.
The Evidence Room is a massive collection of shorter extras, broken down into six sub-categories, many with their own assorted collection of materials. Conclusive: We Made 'Hot Fuzz' (480p, 29:34), is a making-of piece that features cast and crew discussing the many facets of the project both on the set and off, coupled with an impressive array of behind-the-scenes footage. Speculative: Video Blogs (480p, 29:55) contains 13 short segments that take viewers into the nitty-gritty of the filmmaking process, looking at costuming, physical training, life on the set, make-up, and much more. Forensic: Featurettes (480p, 44:54) is an eight-part feature that contains even more behind-the-scenes production materials, focusing on set design, the filmmakers' relatives, and the varied shooting techniques and camera rigs, among other tidbits. Photographic: Galleries offers both a Poster Gallery and a Photo Gallery, each presented in 1080p high definition. Hearsay: Plot Holes & Comparisons (480p, 3:23) is separated into two sections. Plot Holes, itself divided into three segments, fills in the gaps of a few scenes through a collection of hand-drawn comic book images, narrated by the actors who play the characters central to each scene. The second half of Hearsay: Plot Holes & Comparisons, Special Effects: Before & After (480p, 6:21), is an eight-part feature that examines the various stages of completion for some of the film's special effects shots. Rounding out The Evidence Room is Falsified: 'Dead Right', Edgar Wright's first Cop movie. The feature itself, from 1993, (480p, 40:12), was made when he was 18 years old and was shot on S-VHS. The piece begins with the Director introducing the picture. Also included here is AM BLAM: Making 'Dead Right' (480p, 10:29), a retrospective piece with Edgar Wright speaking on how the film came to be. Also available are two commentary tracks for Dead Right (the "+2" tracks), the first with Edgar Wright and the second with Wright and Simon Pegg.
Moving on down the list, viewers will find The Man Who Would Be Fuzz (480p, 0:34), a piece that doesn't seem to have a real point (that observation influenced, perhaps at this juncture of the review, by fatigue). Hot Funk (480p, 3:43) features several scenes reshot for television without foul language. Danny's Notebook: The Other Side (480p, 0:21) features the flip animation drawings that are found on the reverse side of Danny's police notebook. Additional Video Blogs contains a pair of segments: VW Blogs (480p, 21:29), a collection of five Internet Blogs sponsored by Volkswagen: 4 Cars, Meet the Makers, Join the Fuzz, In for Questioning, and On Duty. The Second half of Additional Video Blogs, iTunes Blogs, is a collection of four podcasts (480p, 16:30). Also included on the disc is a collection of 11 Storyboard Galleries presented in 1080p high definition -- Extreme Service, Administrative Decision, Hard Goodbye, Tough Distance, Deep Evening, Sudden Morning, Village Force, Avian Breakout, Maximum Running, and Sham Dram. Moving along, viewers will find Inadmissible: Deleted Scenes (480p, 20:37), a collection of 22 deleted scenes with option commentary from Director Edgar Wright. Also included is a collection of Outtakes (480p, 10:22) and several advertisements for the film: the theatrical trailer (480p, 2:33), two UK TV spots (480p, 0:33 each), and the Director's Cut trailer (480p, 0:59). This Blu-ray release of Hot Fuzz is also BD-Live enabled, accessible under the "What's New" tab on the main menu screen, and D-Box equipped.
Hot Fuzz Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Hot Fuzz is truly an Action lover's delight, a film that not only nails every attempt to poke fun at the genre but along the way manages to create an Action film bathed in cliché but stronger even than many of the movies its tackles along the way. Besides some sluggish pacing here and there through the middle act, there's little-to-nothing wrong with Hot Fuzz; it delivers a big movie experience on a relative shoestring budget and is supported by a collection of top-notch performances that make a great script extraordinary. Universal's Blu-ray release befits the high quality of the film. Sporting a strong 1080p transfer, a reference-quality lossless soundtrack, and a heaping helping of commentary tracks and additional extras that will exhaust even the most ardent fan of supplemental features, Hot Fuzz is a must-own Blu-ray and comes very highly recommended.
Hot Fuzz: Other Editions
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Hot Fuzz Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - September 22nd - September 22, 2009
Over the past decade, spoof films have become somewhat of a Hollywood sure-thing. If you're all out of unique idea, call up a Wayans brother and ask them to star in a spoof of the latest hot property (look for 'Vampire Movie' next summer – just kidding – I hope). ...
• Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Grace Out Now, Exclusively at Best Buy - August 25, 2009
Best Buy continues to secure timed exclusives on Blu-ray. Universal's 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' (officially slated for release on September 22) and Anchor Bay's 'Grace' (announced for September 15) are already available to purchase at that retailer, ...
• Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz BDs Get Detailed - July 1, 2009
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed the Blu-ray release of 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz', which are due to hit stores on September 22. Each title will come in a BD-50, with 2.35:1 1080p video and a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio ...
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