We started with a French film called District B13. It's sort of a cross between Escape Fom New York and 48 Hours with a lot more running and jumping. And style. Lieto, our reluctant hero, hails from the area that the film is named after, and it's none to nice in there. The Official Paris Government types had sealed off the poor section of town several years ago and it has grown more and more lawless. Lieto himself was thrown in jail for turning in the local drug lord. That same drug lord was given Lieto's sister by the police abandoning the district. It doesn't look good for her. It's six months later and now there's a neutron bomb in B13 and it's going to go off in less than 2 days. A hard headed cop, named Damien, is sent to disarm it. He doesn't know the area. He needs a guide and his bosses give him Lieto.
David Belle, who plays Lieto, is an amazing action guy. He started a movement called Parkour which figures heavily in the action sequences of the film. Belle's IMDb page says he is the, Inventor of a discipline known as Parkour, which consists of moving quickly and efficiently in any environment, using only the abilities of the human body. Yahn and Frederic Hnautra, David Malgogne, Stephane Vigroux Kazuma, and Sébastien Foucan are some the very first traceurs (as parkour practitioners are called), who happened to be David Belle's close friends. Sébastien Foucan is the guy who did all the great freerunning stunts in the open scene of Casino Royale. The two disciplines have different philosophies. The parkour link above from Wikipedia will fill you in.
Back in B13, our heros are butting heads, while the bomb does a count down. Tick, tick, baby. The drug lord scoops them up and they offer to disarm the bomb. The bad guy wants a ton of money first. The cop's boss says no money and hangs up. What a prick, huh? The bad guy has chained Lieto's sister to the bomb. What a prick, huh? It's the same no matter what side you're on. Well, you know that those bad pricks are going to get theirs, huh. They do. The government steals all the drug lord's money and his gang shoots the shit out of him. It's just payback. He's shot his gang for snoring too loud, or something. There's still some leapin' about and punchin' to go, don't worry. Eventually the good guys save the day, destroy the bad government official, and ring change on the people of B13. It's simple story reminded me a lot of those short science fiction novels of the 50's that had a guy raise up against the bad government, bring it down, and create a new world for the citizens. All in a hundred and sixty pages. The movie had a shit load more runnin' and jumpin', all in 84 minutes.
There's a lot of running and jumping in Hot Fuzz, our second feature, and they are at it for 2 hours. It's made by the people that made Shaun of the Dead, and that 2 hours went by pretty quickly. Edgar Wright, the director of both films, and Simon Pegg, the star of both films, reunite to co-write a great fun comedy action film. Joining them again is Nick Frost. He was the vulgar pub-lovin' wanker that freeloaded off of Shaun. Here he's got his own place.
The movie borrows all sorts of action cliches, movie references, packs them in with some jokes and gun fire, then adds a nice story about two guys and their relationship. There was a romantic interest for Simon Pegg's character, Nicholas Angel, in early drafts of the script. She was taken out and some of her lines were given to Nick Frost's character Danny Butterman. Danny's dad is the local head of the police force and is played by Jim Broadbent, who had been in a hundred movies and tv shows. He's also mentioned on the Harry Potter fangroups as an actor people would like to see play Horace Slughorn in the 6th Harry Potter movie. Fatten him up a
bit lot and he could be a great Slughorn. Broadbent is one of many great actors that may have a small part in the film but they add a great deal to making the film so good. There are too many to talk about here. Really, there's couple of tons of 'em.
Back in Sergeant Angel's world it turns out he's too good for the London Metropolitan police. He's making the rest of them look bad. After he gets stabbed in the hand, by Santa, his bosses send him off to the country. Angel's not happy but he's loyal and he goes. A series of grizzly accidents begin to look like murder to the Sergeant. No one believes him except Danny, who's totally smitten by the supercop from the big city. Danny likes the action films and has a huge collection of dvds. His collection is made up of the dvd's owned by the director and his two brothers. Some were stolen during the making of the movie. It's in the commentary by Wright and Pegg. Danny shows Angel Point Break and Bad Boys II for the first time.
I would have picked the first Bad Boys instead. I just like it better, but II has the great line where Martin Lawrence says: " That shit just got real." In context it makes me laugh. My favorite scene from the first movie, is when our guys go into a small store. The clerk thinks Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are going to hold him up. He spotted their guns. He pulls a gun. They pull their guns. He's bummed out. The clerk says, "Oh, shit. I'm fucked." Will Smith says, "Now back up, put the gun down, and get me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubbilicious." And Martin Lawrence says, "And some Skittles." I always laugh. People like to put Michael Bay down but I liked Bad Boys and it's sequel. They are fun films with, good characters, lots of action, and things blowin' up. The hanger scene at the end is one motherfuckin' huge explosion. The boys in Hot Fuzz do what they can with their much smaller budget, and still blow up two buildings. Not bad, eh. One of them's the cop shop. In his commentary Edgar Wright talks about liking action films and now that he's making one he really knows how hard it is to shoot a good action scene.
Besides all the action, there's a pretty good story and some fun twists. I like the jokes. I like the look of the film. It's goodt some good camera work and a nice style. The music is fun and fitting. These guys have improved as film makers, and taking 18 months to work on the script was a good idea. I don't mind waiting for good stuff.