There was one movie I forgot to mention in my last post, Hot Fuzz. And the fact that I was talking about every movie I’ve seen in the last three months and forgot to mention it, pretty much says it all.
I’ve got to be one of the only internet nerds who wasn’t blown away by Shaun of the Dead. (I was interested in Hot Fuzz mostly because of the Grindhouse trailer for Don’t). It seemed like a great concept that lost steam as the filmmakers just gave up and fell back on the movies they already know how to make — zombie movies and romantic comedies. There’s nothing inherently wrong with “genre-busting,” but if you don’t do it right, it ends up being tedious and disjointed. When Shaun of the Dead reached the attack on the pub, it stopped being an innovative comedy or even a romantic comedy and just ended up being a mediocre zombie movie.
And Hot Fuzz follows the exact same formula, just replacing “zombie movie” with “buddy cop action movie” and “romantic comedy” with “English countryside murder mystery.” It hits exactly the same notes, right down to the plot-derailing climax and the fake-out wrap-up at the end. There’s nothing wrong with any individual part, and it’s actually pretty clever throughout and has plenty of genuinely funny moments. But apart from the hilariously over-the-top gore, there’s nothing that seems particularly inspired. (Impaling a guy on a church steeple was brilliant, though). (And I did like that the characters’ default exclamation was “By the power of Greyskull!”).
At about an hour and fifteen minutes in, I was ready for it to be over. But then I realized they were going to take every single set-up they’d done so far and wrap it up with a callback, and that was going to take another 45 minutes. A nerdy friend of mine described it as spending the last third of the movie just popping jokes off the stack. You could exactly predict what the next joke was going to be, just by going backwards through the movie in your head — now he’s going to call her a hag, now he’s going to fire his gun in the air and yell “Aaaaahhhh!”, and so on.
The general consensus of the reviews I’ve read says that it’s better than average, but falls just short of being great. And the concept of making fun/paying homage to over-the-top action movies isn’t as inspired as making a zombie romantic comedy. I’d pretty much agree with that, but I think it’s a better movie than Shaun of the Dead in a lot of ways. I just wish they’d shaken some things up some more, and had edited it down a lot. B+