“Forget it, Nick … it’s Sandford.”
I’d kind of built up the struggle I anticipated having with this movie too much, really starting and ending with the title, which I still think is awful – just to get that out of the way first. While I couldn’t wait to see what Edgar Wright et al. did to follow Shaun of the Dead, I knew they’d be pushed to match its success let alone top it.
Well, they do a bloody good job in the end, I was laughing for the full 2 hours (and the fact I won’t hold that running time against it is a good sign), and while the full out loud laughs are few, they are there eventually (showdown in a model village: genius). There are even hints at the emotional stuff that Shaun had in spades, something that came as a pleasant surprise to me.
Mark Kermode (yes, him again) made much of the runtime, in particular the last action-heavy half hour (literally, the budget is pretty much saved up for a quarter of a Bruckheimer movie), which he thought was too much. I think this last half hour is why I can forgive the runtime. If you’re going to run to 2 hours, you’d better make it worthwhile, and the action stuff here (btw, I haven’t seen Bad Boys 2, I’m understanding it’s pretty much all taken from there?) is well worth sticking around for.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost do a great job as the police partners – as in Shaun, Pegg is the straight one, Frost the thick, fat and funny one, but the similarities pretty much end there, each having their own little quirks (Pegg’s Nick Angel stunned at the prospect of watching two videos in a row; Frost’s sidekick yelling “Bang! Bang!” whilst firing a real firearm at the crooks) and it’s sort of sweet as the movie goes on and they begin to take on each other’s traits as they form a relationship.
Then there’s the sinister supermarket (trying not to give too much away), and Timothy Dalton who does a frighteningly good portrayal as its manager. Shaun had one of the best supermarket gags in cinema history – the zombie pushing the shopping trolleys. Here there’s even more supermarket humour. During a gunfight, someone takes cover behind a rack of Dolmio which is promptly shattered over his face by a shower of bullets – his partner leaps to his defense only to be told, “It’s alright, Andy! It’s just bolognaise!” A woman runs towards our heroes screaming and firing a gun in each hand only to be stopped in her tracks by a “Wet Floor” sign across the face (wielded by Olivia Colman of “Peep Show”, who spouts innuendo so frequently you’d think someone was trying to bring back “Carry On” movies). Two villains hurling meat carving equipment from behind the meat counter are disarmed by a makeshift battering ram of shopping trolleys. Great stuff.
I notice that as of this writing it’s in the IMDb top 250. I’m not too sure if it’s that good (it’s a little above “Shaun” – no way) … but the fact that this doesn’t have me foaming at the mouth like some of the list’s other entrants – as with the 2 hour runtime – is a very good sign. Gotta love the use of hoodies to save the day, too