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Review

'Hot Fuzz' slightly funny, not impressive

April 27, 2007

After reinvigorating the zombie genre with "Shaun of the Dead," the team of director/ writer Edgar Wright and writer/star Simon Pegg are back to take on brainless cop flicks with the pseudo-spoof "Hot Fuzz." Though "Shaun" did better for horror than this does for action, "Hot Fuzz" still performs well at serving up genre jabs with the straightest of faces.

Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a hardened London cop who's extremely good at his job. He's so good that his colleagues are tired of looking like a bunch of lazy bums in comparison, and this supercop Angel is reassigned to the uneventful village of Sandford. But although Sandford appears nice and safe on the surface, Angel suspects something sinister is afoot, that some recent accidents are actually a series of murders. His colleagues think he's a triggerhappy cop going nuts from a lack of action, leaving Angel to become a one-man fighting force and blow the lid on what's really going down in Sandford.

A casual viewing of "Hot Fuzz" might make it seem virtually undistinguishable from any other random action flick. But a closer inspection reveals the filmmakers are trying to hide a collective snicker, a gentle parody that takes a bit more of a subtle route to poking fun at the cop movie; just imagine the complete opposite of "The Naked Gun" movies and their sense of humor. It's the same semi-serious storytelling that Wright incorporated into "Shaun," but here, the line becomes a bit more blurred, a reverse Stockholm Syndrome in which the script begins to adhere a little more to the very clich├ęs it's holding hostage.

"Hot Fuzz" has a clever mindset at work that does turn up more hits than misses. The hattipping to the action genre's allaround goofiness does turn up some amusing results, especially during the bullet-strewn climax, in which everyone and their mother whips out some heavy artillery at some point. Even a runaway swan gets in on the action and is used to hilarious effect. Pegg is terrific as Angel, a cop so starved for action that he treats some kids drinking underage like drug lords. Nick Frost, another "Shaun" veteran, also does well as the obligatory partner, this time an actionmovie junkie in awe of Angel's reputation and whose countless viewings of "Point Break" and "Bad Boys II" eventually come into play. The supporting cast rivals "Love Actually" for the sheer number of British performers, ranging from Timothy Dalton and Bill Nighy to Steve Coogan and Jim Broadbent. It's a who's who of classy British actors.

"Hot Fuzz" reminded me of "Smokin' Aces" in the sense that the trailers seemed to promise a lot more than what was actually going on in the movie. As was the situation with "Aces," there's still enough fun, action-packed material to sit back and have a blast.

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.

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