|HD DVD Action-Adventure|
|Written by Brian Boles|
|Friday, 01 February 2008|
It begins with a fast paced montage of top cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and his qualifications as a London police officer, everything from his outstanding arrest record down to his cycling skills. Sure enough his hard work pays off and he is promoted to Sergeant, but comes to learn it’s because he’s making everyone else look bad. He’s being transferred to Sandford, a small country town with the lowest crime rate in the country. .
The movie is filled with quick cuts to keep the pace relevant to the overall upbeat action genre. Rather than showing an extended scene of the depressed sergeant sitting on a train to emphasize how far in the country Stanford is, we see a series of shots of him on the train, waiting at a station, riding in a taxi, all of which are moved along by his cell phone signal bars dwindling. This type of editing is throughout the movie, and not only is extremely effective, but adds a wonderful artistry to the film.
Sergeant Angel heads out to check the town, which is nearly deserted at a very early hour in the evening. He drops by the local pub for a frosty glass of cranberry juice, and then proceeds to give the boot to nearly every other patron as they are all apparently underage. Later he arrests the majority for unruly conduct.
The next day is full of discoveries for the newly appointed Sergeant, as he is told that one of his arrestees is the son of the chief of police, and also his new partner, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost). Sergeant Angel is given a tour of the police station, where the riot room has cobwebs, and the rest of the squad is hardly trained to handle any real police work. Sergeant Angel does meet the Neighborhood Watch Association, who feels it is their responsibility to keep up the impression of the safest town in the country and win the coveted Village of the Year award. However, they seem more concerned with insignificant details such as a loose swan and street performer than they do with pressing charges against shoplifters or enforcing underage drinking.
Sergeant Angel begins training his partner Danny in detective work and how to be a good police officer. They start to become close friends as Danny looks up to him as a big brother of infinite wisdom, because Danny longs for action-packed adventures he has seen in his favorite police movies.
Even when two decapitated bodies are found, everyone passes it off as a gory traffic accident, even with a lack of skid marks. Sergeant Angel suspects it might be murder as Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton) knew who the victims were without their names ever being mentioned. Also, the night before the “accident” Skinner mentioned bashing in the head of one of the victims. Soon thereafter, the house of a Skinner business rival is blown up by an “accidental” gas explosion. Angel is convinced these deaths are linked. When a church steeple falls on the local newspaper editor, he convinces Police Chief Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent), to let him treat it as a crime scene. This does not sit well with the other cops as they have to work in the rain; it even begins to jeopardize Danny’s relationship with Angel, who just doesn’t know when to stop being a cop and enjoy life.
When Angel discovers that he had missed Danny’s birthday because they were investigating his theories, he feels bad and goes to buy a peace lily as a present. While visiting the town’s renowned horticulturist, she reveals that she is leaving town because she sold her land for a significant price after being informed by the newspaper man who was writing a story on the businessman and his connections to the victims in the car accident. Sergeant Angel thinks he has solved the link between the deaths and goes to his car, but when he turns around the store owner had been stabbed by a cloaked figure who’s escaping through the back. He gives chase, but cannot catch up the murderer despite his fantastic physical condition. Convinced Skinner is the murderer, Nicholas confronts him with his theory (with the entire police force as witnesses), but store surveillance tapes show Skinner was at his work all day, even waving to the camera as if taunting Sergeant Angel.
On the brink of giving up, Angel concludes the murderer is not a single person, but a group acting as one. These thoughts are confirmed when he is attacked at his hotel by one of Skinner’s employees dressed as the cloaked figure. This leads to an action-packed climax with lots of gunfire and surprises.
There is a great use of foreshadowing throughout this movie. If the viewer pays attention, many jokes and clues are given and repeated multiple times and are cleverly scattered throughout.
This is a fantastic film with great cinematic attributes. The video is outstanding, doing high definition justice, while the sound elements of the movie are top notch. Not only does it have a great soundtrack, but sound editing is wonderful and while it is subtle, really gives the movie an exciting feel. Details are crisp even during the fast-paced action shots and the sound booms through the speakers as if you were in the firefight you’re watching. Especially satisfying is that the softer sections are mixed extremely well so you don’t have to turn up the volume when they are talking quietly, and then turn it down during gun fights.
Many of the jokes might be hit and miss with an American audience as it is a British production, because while we both speak English many of the words they use are confusing to us, but also at the same time very entertaining. If you watched the film and didn’t find it as funny as you were expecting, other than the physical humor, watch it again with the Fuzz Facts turned on, found in the special features section. It hand-feeds every joke to the viewer and is great insight into the British dialect and many of their jokes. Some of them can be totally random, but they are typically hilarious nonetheless.
Not only can the movie be viewed again with the Fuzz Facts on, but it can be viewed another time with commentary. And after watching the film three times, you might be ready for the hours of bonus features that are on the disc. The producers did an excellent job of filling the title with material dating back to when the movie was just on storyboards, which give great insight to the story and film making process, but are fairly rudimentary and don’t bring that much to the actual movie experience. There are bonus features from photo galleries, to multiple making-of shorts. There are some entertaining video blogs that were recorded during the filming that seem to have been released on the internet as viral video to build up excitement for the film.
Much of the bonus features are simply of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost goofing around as well as conversation with the director and writers. For more funny material, the outtakes are a must. If there was any confusion how or why something happened in the film, there is a section that explains any plot holes and also how special effects were done. There are twenty-two deleted scenes. That subtle hint to bonus features during the film is the epitome of this movie’s cleverness.
The only way this disc could get any better is if all the bonus features were also presented in full scale high definition. I would highly recommend this to add to any collection that is looking for a funny and entertaining movie with hours of enjoyment for all adults. This will be the film you show your friends when they come over and say that HD isn’t any better than regular standard definition because it captures the true essence of what this technology is all about. Tell them to sit down, turn on your TV and turn up the speakers because Hot Fuzz will blow them away.