Monday, January 11, 2010

The Decade in Review (#6).

Last decade, spoofs were all the rage. Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie... the list goes on (and on). Sadly, we got a lot of quantity and not much quality where these spoofs were concerned.

One big exception: 2007's Hot Fuzz, directed by Edgar Wright. Hot Fuzz is a spoof of big action movies like Point Break, Bad Boys II, and The Last Boy Scout. Unlike those very American movies, Fuzz is a British film with a decidedly British tone--you know, polite accents and bone dry humor.

But that's one of the many great things about Fuzz. Where most modern spoofs are content to mindlessly recycle scenes from other movies, Fuzz tells an original story. That story, at the start, doesn't promise a lot of action. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the screenplay with Wright), a big city police officer who is more interested in paperwork than gunplay, is reassigned to Sandford, a small town that happens to have the lowest crime rate in England.

Boring cop in a boring town, and this is supposed to be some kind of shoot 'em up flick? Well, yeah, it just takes a little time to get there. And when the action finally does start up, we find out that Angel is actually pretty handy with a gun. Or two guns.

Fuzz is more than a good spoof. It's a good movie. In fact, it's actually a lot better than most of the movies it pays homage to. Wright stages several elaborate and intense action scenes, but he never loses sight of Angel and the rest of the well-written characters. And he never stops delivering laughs.

Honorable mention: Shaun of the Dead

There were also lots of zombie movies released last decade. Heck, even I made one. For my money, Shaun of the Dead (2004) is the best of the bunch. Big on character, laughs, and gore, Shaun is about a slacker (Simon Pegg again) who finally gets motivated when he has to fight to protect himself and his friends from flesh-hungry zombies. Shaun is Edgar Wright's first feature film, and his directing here is almost as inspired as it is on Hot Fuzz.

Tomorrow: "This is every shade of wrong."

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