15 February, 2007

Word of Mouth: Hot Fuzz

Imagine a traditional English village murder mystery combined with a Hollywood action flick and you have Hot Fuzz.

One of the criticisms of Shaun of the Dead was that it was too simple a story and it appears that Midlands writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright took that to heart and set out to prove that they can do better but Hot Fuzz is too complicated and they end up with a plot that doesn’t bear close scrutiny.

There are some very good gags and the dialogue is great throughout. Their trademark call backs (gags referring to something earlier on in the movie) are fun as always.

The characters are good in that they are all different and have their own personalities and I didn't mind too much that they were a little familiar. I think we get introduced to too many characters at the same time and I’m not convinced all of them were needed for the story. Cutting some of them would have made the movie leaner and cleaner and better.

Of course with its "Lethal Weapon meets Miss Marple" mash-up there’s going to be issues with the tone especially as it does take a slight horror detour. What I liked about Shaun of the Dead was that it was about extraordinary things happening realistically to ordinary people but the ordinariness and realism is somewhat diminished in Hot Fuzz which lessens its impact considerably.

Simon Pegg in an interview said something very interesting, and I paraphrase, about how it’s important to be personal when writing rather than trying to appeal to lots of people because by being personal and true to yourself you will find that lots of people who can relate to that.

Great advice and it was said in reply to a question about whether the Americans understood Shaun of the Dead. However, Hot Fuzz seems much more parochial than Shaun of the Dead and I would be surprised if it matched its international success.

Someone once said that if you notice the direction then it’s bad direction. I’ve never really been convinced of that until Hot Fuzz. I found Wright’s direction to be seriously annoying at times, especially with the sound design and jump cuts. Although I did like his match cuts. The film is overlong and the pacing seems a bit wonky.

Hot Fuzz is, however, an enjoyable enough film as long as you don’t think about it too much and it's worth seeing.

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