Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trailer of the Week: Crime is a Disease, Meet the Cure Edition

It may not be a cool thing to admit, but I actually have more point of reference to the films that inspire Hot Fuzz, the new film by the creative forces of Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright (director and co-writer) and Simon Pegg (lead actor and co-writer), than I did to those that inspired Tarantino's last two films (Kill Bill & Death Proof, duh). Yeah I've seen Rolling Thunder, Machine Gun McCain, Thriller and Vanishing Point, but I viewed them either on video or at local Rep Houses (namely The New Beverly) not a grimy 42nd Street cinema whilst homeless persons copulated in the seats behind me. The formative theatre viewing of my youth, circa 1980-90s, revolved around the works of Bruckheimer & Simpson, Stallone, Seagal and Point Break. So it's a relief that Hot Fuzz not only does a great job of satirizing the cliches and mise-en-scene of those epics, but actually convincingly becomes one of them. Its a trick they pulled off with Shaun, which also started off as an ironic dissertation on genre convention and shout outs to the films that defined said genre, and wound up being not only funny but also scary, gory and providing empathetic characters.

There is no detail too small, my favorite being the epilogue where we discover a person who looked for all purposes dead, not only alive but in perfect condition. The reveal was so perfect that you knew to which extent they studied the material. The greatest compliment I could pay it is that it actually made me consider renting Bad Boys 2. (do I need to see part 1, will I be lost?) My one gripe is Wright's "clever" editing style where he constantly smash cuts scenes together and applies loud sound effects. I wish I could say this was a knowing tribute to the likes of Tony Scott, but seeing how he employed the same tricks in both Shaun and the first episode of Spaced (the only episode I've seen, but I assume he does it throughout the series, by the by, when is BBC going to get their shit together and release the series on DVD in the US?), it seems to be one of his directorial flourishes. Wright was recently named director of one of Marvel Comics lesser known works, Ant Man, I am hoping he gives the super hero genre the same treatment (and adoration) he's given action and zombie films, oh and Pegg has got to be the lead, right!?!

This week's trailer of the week is a film that Wright and Pegg referenced in Fuzz, the 1986 Slyvester Stallone vehicle, Cobra, which if I had such a thing as a list of guilty pleasures would probably be on top. You can see the DVD at the convenient store Pegg's character, Nicholas Angel, stops before returning to Sandford. The shoot out in the supermarket in the climax mirrors the opening of Cobra, where Stallone deals with a terrorist in a supermarket. What I love about Cobra is its a perfect encapsulation of the whole type of renegade cop who's above the law genre that arose in the 80s when Ronald Reagan quoted Dirty Harry in stump speeches that if it wasn't so damn sincere it would serve as a perfect satire. I am sure Stallone thought Marion Cobretti was going to be his next iconic character and audiences would demand sequel after sequel a la his Rocky and Rambo films, sadly that never materialized, perhaps if his name began with an "R", but I might be the only person keeping my fingers crossed that in nine years, at the thirtieth anniversary of its release, we get Marion Cobretti the long in the works sequel, where Cobra returns from retirement to the street to stop one more scumbag terrorist.

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