Here’s a British, Buddy-Cop, Action film that stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in their second big movie since Sean of the Dead came out. This is also one of the funniest satires I’ve seen that was also a really good action movie. Much like Pegg and Frost’s series Spaced it borrows many tropes from American films and you can see the similarities, but, much like a Quentin Tarantino film, they use it in a way that’s all it’s own, combining tropes from horror, action, and comedy so it makes an action movie that’s really something special.
If you love British comedy like I do, I think you’ll be a bit more likely to enjoy this movie from the very start as much of the jokes are incredibly dry but as the movie moves forward it goes into the more overt comedy and action, also this movie keeps such a fast pace I feel it’s impossible to be bored by it. Also, something I like about this is that it’s smarter and more subtle than probably any action movie I’ve ever seen, making for great replay value and, like its predecessor, every set-up is paid off beautifully.
This movie is about Police Officer Nicholas Angel (Pegg) who’s such a good cop in London that he makes everyone else look bad, so they send him to a small country town where nothing bad ever happens…or does it? Anyway, he buddies up with fellow officer Nick Frost just as people around town start getting murdered.
This movie stands out in a lot of ways, for one thing the editing and cinematography is simply top notch. It only adds to the movie’s fast pace and works well with each scene to add to the feel of the scene. You might see a familiar style with Edgar Wright and you could consider this to be a precursor to Baby Driver as I think there’s just a bit more similarities between these two movies and Wright’s other films.
There’s a couple of problems, one’s kind of a big one. Which is something I’ve complained about in previous reviews. This movie hits what I call the “2nd-act Doldrums” which is when a movie gets to the second half of the second act and the plot just seems to slow down to a screeching halt. And I think in this case it’s because it suddenly has to set up something new, the grisly murders that take up the second half of the film. I think really, they probably didn’t need so much of the first half of the second act meaning they should have shortened this section and used it to set up the murders rather than showing how much life is different from the way things are in the city. I mean, it’s fine and funny but it just takes too much time, and just distracts from what is just to set up this movie’s awesome third act.
The last problem with this movie is that it tries to combine a bit too many genres. It’s only during some scenes and becomes all action movie by the end but throughout the film it seems to be mixing comedy with action with horror with drama and I’m not sure if it entirely works. Some of the tonal shifts are quite a bit jarring actually, especially during those 2nd-act doldrums I mentioned above.
Why you should watch it before you die: I know I just complained a lot, but these things don’t really take up much screen time. It’s one of the best buddy-cop films to ever come out and definitely the best to come out of Great Britain.
+8.5: Great action-comedy
+1: Amazing editing and cinematography
+1: Smart, witty, fast-paced jokes
-1: 2nd act is too long and becomes tedious
-1: mixing of genres doesn’t work in a few cases