A Look Back At: Edgar Wright (Part Three)

As you read in Part One, Edgar Wright got his first major break with the television show “Spaced”. In Part Two, you read about how the success of “Spaced” allowed Edgar to create the 2004 classic “Shaun of the Dead”. Once more as something of Edgar’s was released to critical and commercial acclaim, he was given the chance to work with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and to make yet another classic. This time though, it wasn’t zombies, it was 80s and 90s action films.

“Hot Fuzz” is about Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg, who is a little bit too good at his job. In fact, his numbers are 400% above everyone else in London’s Metropolitan Police Service and he’s just making everyone else look bad. Due to this, he’s made Sergeant and transferred to Sanford, a village out in the country. Needless to say, no crime occurs in this town and no recorded murder has occurred in 20 years. Nicholas is paired up with Danny Butterman, played by Nick Frost, who is obsessed with action films. When a series of deaths start to occur in town, it’s up to Nicholas and Danny to figure out who the killer is and what is really going on in the village of Sanford.

I know I seen like a broken record when I say that this movie is really funny but it truly is. Is it funnier then “Shaun of the Dead” or “Spaced”? That’s one of the hardest questions I’ll ever (never) answer, so my answer is no, it’s on par though. It seems like there are fewer jokes that pay off with time and more that pay off immediately. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing or anything. “Hot Fuzz” takes a bit more time with it’s plot then “Shaun of the Dead” did, so the quicker jokes are welcomed.

The whole supporting cast is used to a great degree also, namely Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, and Rafe Spall, who play Simon Skinner, and The Two Andy’s (They’re both named Andy), respectively. The Two Andy’s steal nearly every scene they’re in as they aren’t fans of Nicholas and show it as much as they can. I must make mention of The Swan, played by Elvis, who in all honesty has a couple good moments in the film.

“Hot Fuzz” does take it’s time with it’s plot. It’s about 30 minutes longer then “Shaun of the Dead” and not to say that “Shaun” was too quick or that “Hot Fuzz” is too long, but you can see that with this film, Edgar and Simon have matured as scriptwriters and storytellers. Oh dear, I think it’s broken record time.

Have I ever told all of you about how well Edgar Wright is as a director? I have…well here we go again. Once again, no scenes feel out of place and the camera never overstays it’s welcome. The fast editing from “Spaced” and “Shaun of the Dead” are back again and you guessed are used really well, specifically in showing Nicholas get from London to Sanford. Edgar could have just jumped from London to Sanford and he could have shown all of the adventure in getting there but he doesn’t, he shows what needs to be shown and moves on.

He can also show one helluva shootout, meaning the last 25 minutes are really well done. Unlike a lot of action directors, he doesn’t use close up after close up to where you just know things are happening. No, Edgar makes sure that we can see exactly where every bullet is coming through and who is firing it. He even finds a way to incorporate humor into a tense shootout and not make it feel forced in there for the sake of comedy, it just comes natural. Did I mention how the last 20-25 minutes are essentially a big action scene?

Needless to say, this movie is a classic. The acting is spot-on, the humor is spot-on, the action is spot-on, everything is spot-on. Falling as the 2nd part of the “Three Flavors Cornetto” trilogy, following “Shaun of the Dead”, it’s an entirely worthy follow-up to “Shaun”.

Also, in 2007 Edgar created a fake trailer for the fake film entitled “Don’t” for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s “Grindhouse”. He even found a way to use Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It essentially came down to being about what not to do in a horror film and of course was hilarious.

(Not Quite Safe For Work)

Edgar has about three projects on his plate right now, Ant-Man, Baby Driver, and the final entry in the “Three Flavors Cornetto” trilogy. Today, Edgar Wright is releasing his next film “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” and as I said in Part One, it doesn’t seem to be a speed bump in what is already an amazing career.

Hot Fuzz is available on DVD (3-Disc Edition) and Blu-Ray.
Grindhouse (The way it was meant to be seen, as one film) is coming to Blu-Ray October 5th.

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