Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I checked this out expecting a farce, sort of like Reno 911 or a satire of cop movies. In some ways that's what it was, but it was actually better than I expected. I should have known this would be up my alley, since Slartibartfast and Arthur Dent were in it! (Hitchhiker's Guide fans know who I'm talking about!) I didn't recognize Timothy Dalton (James Bond in a few of those flicks).
One of the best scenes was the opening segment, in which we are introduced to the aptly (yet obviously) named Nicholas Angel, the best cop London has ever seen. He's dedicated, efficient, highly productive, and makes the rest of the force look bad. The narration and visuals are hilarious, especially the interrogation at which his superior officers inform him of his reassignment. His overachievment had earned him the scorn of his fellow officers and an assignment in the sticks. Once he arrives there, people start turning up dead, and he gets caught up in a scandalous murder ring.
The story itself is a bit outrageous, but interesting. While the plot develops, there are hilarious bits, both freestanding jokes and visual gags, as well as more complex, subtle humor that's woven into the story.
Some random examples: Angel answers the phone at night. You don't hear the other end of the conversation, only Angel exclaiming, "Decaffeinated!!" The next shot shows the heads of two victims who had been deCAPitated in a freaky auto accident (which Angel concludes is a murder.)
Angel's new boss is welcoming Angel to town, and tells of the officer Angel's replacing. "He had one thing you don't have." "What's that, sir?" "A big, bushy beard. Later, Angel stumbles across the corpse of a man with, you guessed it, a big, bushy beard. Sounds weird, but it's funny in context.
This isn't really a slasher movie, but the murders are themselves sort of funny. OK, maybe I have a sick sense of humor; just think of Monty Python or something, when people die in outrageous ways.
Toward the end, there is one of the nuttiest, wildest, most over-the-top gun fight/chase scenes ever, all the more crazy because of the change in tone from much of the rest of the movie. It's brilliant.
All in all, this may not be a great, classic movie, but it's more entertaining than most comedies out there, and it's certainly better than the funny/dramatic cop movies it pays homage to (or takes jabs at, depending on your perspective). I'll give it three stars.