Studio: Universal Original Release: 2007 Length: 2 hours 1 min Genre: Action/Comedy Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Fuzz-O-Meter Rating: R Release Date: July 31, 2007 Rating: / Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent and Timothy Dalton Written by: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg Directed by: Edgar Wright “From The Guys Who Watched Every Action Film Ever Made...” Hot Fuzz, is clearly a labor of love for everyone who worked on it, and their enthusiasm is infectious. The same team that came up with Shaun of the Dead has now tackled the buddy-cop action genre, and delivered a comedy that closely follows the stylistic rules and modes of almost every major action film of the last 30+ years. The plot is fairly simple: Overachieving uber-cop Nick Angel (played by co-writer Simon Pegg) is effectively banished to a precint in a small town outside of London, where he teams up with a local cop and uncovers that all is not what it seems. References are made throughout to more action films than I could count, including multiple Tony Scott/Jerry Bruckheimer films, Point Break, Cop Land, and there’s even a nod to Clint Eastwood westerns! It’s all done in a good-natured tone, with a lot of affection for the characters, even as the situation becomes increasingly silly. The actors are having a good time here, particularly Timothy Dalton in the role of the titular villain. In short, this movie is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys action films or well-executed comedies. The only qualification here is to watch out for the gore. The “R” rating is well-earned here, as there is a fair amount of profanity and blood gets spilled more frequently than you would expect. (If I didn’t know better, I’d say the filmmakers were also throwing in an homage to The Omen...) I have to also throw in extra style points for the DVD cover, which somehow resembles a recent Bruckheimer/Bay/Will Smith action movie. Could that have been on purpose? Nahhhhh... VIDEO QUALITY: 4/5 Hot Fuzz is presented in a colorful anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. It’s a solid image that doesn’t jump off the screen, but doesn’t show any defects I could see either. The full color spectrum is presented here, with a good variety of environments and lighting scenarios on display. Fleshtones are accurate, if fairly uniform throughout – which is more of a reflection of the film featuring an entirely Caucasian cast. AUDIO QUALITY: 4 ½ /5 ½ Hot Fuzz is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX mix in English, French and Spanish. As is appropriate for an homage to action films, there is a LOT of LFE in this mix. Be careful with the volume on this one – on several occasions I turned up the volume to hear what someone was quietly saying, only to get blasted by the next blast of the bass. There is a healthy use of the surround channels, for music, effects, and in one clear case late in the film, for directional dialogue. This is what I would think of as an aggressive mix. SPECIAL FEATURES: 4.5/5 ½ Hot Fuzz is loaded with special features, including a feature commentary, deleted scenes (also with optional commentary), outtakes, trailers, a video of the US promotional tour, a collection of sanitized clips for TV viewing, a triva subtitle track, a storyboard viewing option with the film, and two throwaway clips for good measure. There is no “making of” documentary, but with the commentary and the trivia track, you really won’t miss it. Considering that this is a single-disc release, this is a pretty thorough package. If another version of this film comes out on disc, I would have to ask what else could be included. Feature Commentary with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg - Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg talk through the film about everything and anything that pops up on the screen, from production stories to the various uncredited cameos made by Cate Blanchett and Steve Coogan, among others, to the references being made to multiple action films. Their affection for the film is clear, and it’s a lot of fun just to watch the film with them. By the time they’re done, a pretty clear picture of the film’s production and intentions has been presented, which can then be enhanced by the trivia track discussed below. Fuzz-O-Meter– This is a subtitle option that, when selected, will display pop-up trivia about this film and its many homages to other films. Some of the material overlaps the commentary, but there’s plenty of fresh material here as well. Basically, to get the complete story of the film, it actually is necessary to watch the film THREE times: once on its own, once with the commentary and once with the trivia track. For myself, I tend to multitask and watch the trivia track while the commentary runs, but it would be really easy to miss something on either end, and there’s a lot of great stuff here. Storyboards – Another option while watching the film is to toggle the storyboard function in the bonus menu. This will cause a badge to appear on screen at selected moments throughout the film. Clicking on the badge will momentarily interrupt the film to display storyboards of the current sequence, allowing for an immediate storyboard-to-film comparison. This isn’t as useful a function for me, but I’m sure there are fans who will enjoy this ability. Outtakes (10:21 total, non-anamorphic) – This is a non-anamorphic collection of blown takes that show, if anything, how hard it was to keep a straight face on the set. The actors are clearly having fun here, even when the situation completely collapses – such as Simon Pegg realizing he has no control over the horse he is riding while the camera is rolling. There’s a lot of fun to be had watching the third or fourth take of a shot where Pegg has already been having trouble staying serious. You can immediately tell that he’s not going to make it through the take, and sure enough, within seconds, it all comes apart. There is also a great bit with Timothy Dalton, who blows a line, swears at himself and then realizes the camera was rolling on that. At that point, while he looks completely sheepish, a voice can be heard in the background, saying “That’s on the DVD. That’s SO on the DVD.” I’d say the voice was right on that count. Inadmissable: Deleted Scenes (20:36 total, non-anamorphic) – A series of non-anamorphic deleted scenes are included, almost all of which are really just one or two line extensions of existing scenes. There is a brief subplot about Angel breaking up a bunch of kids with spray cans at one point that comes to play later in the released film, but it’s nothing that the film really needs. The fact that there is almost 21 minutes of this material shows how some judicious editing can bring the length of a film down without sacrificing major plot material. The scenes can be accessed individually or as one group. There is an optional commentary track available where Edgar Wright explains why the pieces had to go. The Fuzzball Rally (28:06, anamorphic) – This is an anamorphic video diary of the US publicity tour for the film by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. There’s some fun stuff here, particularly as they watch crowd reactions to the film during the various screenings. On the other hand, I could have done without the footage of Nick Frost flushing birthday cakes down the toilet... Hot Funk (3:43, non-anamorphic) – This is a brief, non-anamorphic assembly of clips from the film with the profanity replaced with more TV-friendly dialogue. This means we get to hear inventive uses of “funk” and “silt” in multiple settings. I can’t help but wonder if this feature was inspired by the same idea on the Scarface DVD... Trailers (4:38 total) – A series of four trailers are presented here. The original theatrical trailer is presented in non-anamorphic format. We are then presented with a series of three television or video ads from Britain that are in anamorphic format, but are much briefer. One of the ads purports to be for a “Director’s Cut” on the menu, but really seems to be just another TV ad for the same cut. The Man Who Would Be Fuzz (:34, non-anamorphic) – This is a quick non-anamorphic version of one scene in the film where Simon Pegg and Nick Frost do their dialogue in their best impressions of Sean Connery and Michael Caine. I can’t say that these were the best impressions I’ve ever seen, but the actors appear to be having a good time. Danny’s Notebook (:21, anamorphic) – This is a very quick anamorphic look at “the other side” of Nick Frost’s character’s notebook, where he has drawn a little flip-book movie. Considering that someone had to draw all these ink sketches of a car accident and shooting, I suppose it’s worth it to let it go on the DVD, but it really feels superfluous. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for the film itself, as well as for the special features. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference. Finally, the standard collection of non-anamorphic trailers are played when you first put the disc in the machine, but you can skip them with the menu button. On this occasion, they include trailers for the “Heroes” Season One set and Balls of Fury. IN THE END... Hot Fuzz is a lot of fun, and a great DVD to boot. The guys making this film weren’t joking when they announced their credentials as having come from watching every action movie ever made. They have taken all the elements they could from those films and fashioned their own heartfelt tribute, which also happens to be a really funny movie in its own right. I highly recommend this disc for the dual reason that it’s worth your time to see, and because Universal has put a lot of care into the making of this disc. If you’ve never heard of this film, go get it today – you won’t be sorry. Kevin Koster July 29, 2007.