Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is the best cop in London. No, seriously. He kicks unbelievable amounts of ass. In fact, he’s so far over his ass-kicking quota that his superiors (along with everyone else) has decided to shunt him into the countryside because otherwise he’s going to put them all out of a job. Of course, out in said countryside, there’s very little in the way of SWAT-level raids that need to be undertaken, nor do you have a great deal of stabbing going on. In fact, in Sandford–where Angel ends up–they haven’t had a murder in twenty years. They…do seem to have a high number of accidents, though…but are they really accidents? Or is Angel just so used to the criminal element that he’s going batshit crazy in a place where Sandford’s Most Wanted is an escaped swan?
[ad#longpost]When watching this film, I had to ask myself: am I really watching what is, in essence, Michael Bay’s Midsomer Murders? I realized yes. Yes I am. I also came to another realization when I felt that this film lacked some of the emotional depth of their previous (and Chazzie award-winning) effort, Shaun of the Dead: it’s an action movie. So what if it’s British? It’s an action movie, and it has exactly the amount of emotional depth one would expect from that genre. Just like Shaun, though, they’ve taken a genre, laid it open, stayed true to it–playing by its rules–and injecting enough humor into it to make the thing priceless and completely their own. In other words, they pulled it off yet again. Well done.
The script is an exercise in mashup perfection: just like with Shaun, where you can flip from horror to comedy and back again without missing a beat, here you can enjoy the film for the action sequences and then flip into laughing and then back into “Holy shit, they really are beating the crap out of each other, aren’t they?” Make no mistake, they’re sending up the genre (the spot-on poster parodies they’ve released are testament to that), but they’re doing it not in the no holds barred way that something like Scary Movie does…instead it’s a love letter to mindless action in the same way that Shaun was a big salute to all the zombie movies that came before it. You could watch this film multiple times and catch some new reference every single time.
The standout in the acting is Pegg. He’s gone from the hero that’s total rubbish to the hero that’s just the opposite. He is…well, the Anti-Rubbish. And he’s believable as a hardass Brit street cop who will knock you on your ass. Chazzie winner Nick Frost is back, naturally, and plays a great sidekick to Pegg in the role of the guy who just wants to be a real cop for once. Huge casting points go to the guys for the supporting cast. Timothy Dalton is a moustache-twirling good time. Jim Broadbent is scary-good as Frost’s father–they actually do look a bit alike. They even have The Equalizer as the head of a neighborhood watch program. Egad. The people of Sandford are stacked with great actors, and the cameos in here are mind-blowing…if you catch them all without peeking, then bonus points for you.
At this point, I’m more than willing to hand them any damn genre they feel like screwing around with. Hell, I can’t help but be excited that Edgar Wright is directing Ant-Man. Freaking Ant-Man, people. I know that’s sounds insane, but that’s how good this is. People who are afraid of Brit comedies in fact have nothing to fear, and fans of film in general will love it.
Update: Bloody hell, I forgot to put down the kicksplode rating. Bonus points for reasons that I cannot name due to spoilers. You’ll know what I’m talking about.