Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blu-Ray Review: Hot Fuzz

Officially, Edgar Wright's brilliant Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz aren't slated to hit Blu-Ray shelves in the US until late September.  Best Buy, however, has released the two a full month early.  Days ago, I scoured the internet looking for any kind of review, but all I could find were useless user reviews on  Thanks, guys, I know all about the movie itself.  What about the features?  The digital transfer?  THAT is what I'm here to give you today.

If you're not familiar with Hot Fuzz, you're missing out on one of the best comedies of the decade, and one of the most well-executed parodies ever made.  It's your basic fish-out-of-water plot.  Nicolas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a London supercop who's so good at his job that the higher-ups transfer him to a small village to keep him from putting everyone out of a job.  From the moment he arrives in Sanford, Angel begins investigating a series of murders with his new partner (Nick Frost), and the two end up arresting or killing half the town.

The plot itself is deceptively simple, but the devil is in the details.  The movie flirts with half a dozen film genres, and pulls off each one with ease.  It's a buddy comedy, it's a slasher flick, it's a murder mystery, it's an over-the-top action movie, etc.  Of course, if the movie is parodying anything in particuler, it's the Tony Scott/Michael Bay-style action flick.  Edgar Wright admittedly loves movies like Bad Boys II, and that love is apparent in every scene.  Just like with Shaun of the Dead, it's to Wright's credit that Hot Fuzz is just as good a cop movie as it is a comedy. 

This is a film that works infinitely better on DVD than it did in theaters.  On the big screen, you're simply overwhelmed by the ridiculous spectacle of it all.  At home, you can take full advantage of the pause and rewind functions to catch jokes you might have missed or watch your favorites again.  What I love about Hot Fuzz is that with each viewing, I either catch a visual gag I missed the last time, or a whole series of one-liners and references that hadn't occurred to me until now.

So how's the blu-ray?  In a word, great.  The film already has that desaturated, high contrast cop-movie feel to it, and the 1080p transfer really looks crisp, bringing out the occasional flourish of color quite nicely.  I can't say it's a reference quality transfer, as the difference between this and the standard DVD isn't too noticeable.  But considering Hot Fuzz didn't have much of a budget (about $13 million) anyway, this is as good as it's ever going to look.

Then there are the features.  Every single special feature from the 3-disc standard DVD is present here.  No less than five audio commentaries, production diaries, trailers, deleted scenes, outtakes, storyboards, interviews, it's all here.  Even Edgar Wright's hilarious student film Dead Right is included, with it's own commentary no less.  Also, as is the custom with blu-ray discs, there are some interesting "U-Control" features as well.  At $20, If you've somehow held out this long on Hot Fuzz, you'll definitely be getting your money's worth and then some with this blu-ray.  I can only assume the Shaun of the Dead blu-ray received equal treatment, and I sincerely hope it did, because this disc is exceptionally put together.

THE MOVIE: 8/10  -  Hot Fuzz is equally hilarious and thrilling, and proves Edgar Wright to be the Quentin Tarantino of comedies.  Wright knows his action movies inside and out, and directs Hot Fuzz like he's been doing it for decades.  Truly great parodies are few and far between.  This is Wright's second great parody in a row.

THE BLU-RAY: 9/10  -  Not quite reference grade, but definitely a step up from the standard DVD.

THE FEATURES: 10/10  -  Three discs worth of special features are all crammed onto this one disc.  Some might argue that the number of features detracts from the quality of the film transfer, but if that's the case I definitely can't tell. 

OVERALL:  9/10  -  This is easily one of the best values for your blu-ray dollar.  And if you're upgrading from your standard DVD, this'll give you a little extra room on your shelf.  A hilarious, well-produced movie and a well-spring of features, all for a decent price.  How can you beat that?

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