Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Shit Just Got Real

Four years ago, after having just sat through Bad Boys II, I scrawled the following in the back of a notebook:

“Pure, unadulterated, could-have-been-made-ten-years-ago, big-screen madness. Extreme car chases, extreme shoot-outs, gratuitous foreign drug dealer accents, gratuitous swearing, deafening music, extreme gore and carnage, gratuitous nudity…it’s a pure distillation of the late 80s-early 90s action aesthetic, and I loved it like it was my first born child. And NO CGI!! Take that, you Matrix-loving bastards! Blowing shit up is much more pleasing than elaborate pixels jumping around in a soulless cinematic epileptic fit.”

Coming eight years after the original, absolutely no-one was eagerly awaiting this belated sequel to the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy cop-movie. I certainly wasn’t. After a long summer choked by leaden FX-heavy misfires like Hulk (Don’t make it Ang Lee. We wouldn’t like it when it’s Ang Lee) and The Matrix Reloaded, I was just forcing myself to sit through the last of the summer 2003 blockbusters.

Critically reviled in all quarters, I was surprised and exhilarated by the delirious excesses of Bad Boys II. My friends all thought I’d finally lost my shit when I kept talking about how brilliant it was. Big-ass explosions will always defeat dodgy renderings of lumpen green monsters or the turgid pseudo-mysticism of Keanu Reeves.

For the last four years, I was convinced that I was the lone fan of the unfashionable Bad Boys sequel. Finally, Hot Fuzz has come along to prove that I was never alone. Just as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost moulded Shaun of the Dead from their abiding love of the Romero zombie movies, Hot Fuzz is where they pledge an oath of fealty to the over-stylised, explodo-fests of Michael Bay and Tony Scott. And it is Great!

Cannily blending the milieu familiar from numerous sedate Sunday evening rural copper dramas with the all-star cast of a good Agatha Christie adaptation, Hot Fuzz plays with all the conventions of both the noisy American action movie and the gentle British portrayal of small-town police without once treating the story as mere pastiche. Simon Pegg is as terrifically impassive as the T-1000 as he chases after evildoers, and the oleaginous Timothy Dalton is wonderful. 2007 at the movies is shaping up pretty well so far. Bring the noise!

No comments: