Hot Fuzz (2007)
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton
There’s no point beating around the bush…Hot Fuzz is from the people who brought you Shaun of the Dead and Spaced. There, now I don’t have to explain the jump cuts, the subtle (and not so subtle) homages to various films and genres and the at times giddily adolescent humour.
Be warned however; if you were one of the hordes infected by the world’s only zom-rom-com, don’t expect to leave the cinema feeling quite the same way about this film. While Hot Fuzz is similar, especially in regards to the elements mentioned above, it’s very much its own feature. I liken it to the arrival of a second child; it’s reminiscent of its elder sibling, but it’s impossible for it to have the same impact on you. It doesn’t mean you should love it any the less…
One of these similarities is the premise; a genre more at home in the backlots and locales of Hollywood has been transplanted to the comparative backwaters of the United Kingdom. A slimmed-down and toned Simon Pegg again plays the straight man, this time however a rather more capable individual by the name of Nick Angel. The star of London’s Metropolitan Police service, he’s making all his colleagues look bad, and as a result is reassigned somewhere he can do less public image damage, the seemingly docile Somerset village of Sandford. Upon arrival, he’s introduced to his team, including the underworked and belligerent CID duo of Rafe Spall and Paddy Considine, and he’s partnered with PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost, playing the Nick Frost role. As Nick Frost), the rather inept son of the local Inspector. From this point in, we witness Nick getting to grips with his new beat and his now uneventful career, all the while fielding Danny’s enquiries about what it’s like to be at the front line of policing. And just when he’s beginning to settle in, a crime wave hits Sandford…
Unsurprisingly, it’s the juxtaposition of American situations and profoundly British settings that provide a lot, but not all, of the comedy. Pegg and director Edgar Wright’s script injects a little pathos and humanity into the characterisation, which is again a hallmark from both Shaun of the Dead and their earlier British TV show, Spaced. However, unlike Shaun of the Dead, there are no romantic or family subplots here (save from a brief mention of Nick’s dedication to his job destroying his previous relationship, and the traditional smattering of homosexual innuendo between the two leads); instead we are presented with a melting pot of crime genres. At times Hot Fuzz is a fish-out-of-water picture, at times a buddy movie, segueing into a murder-mystery before finally ending as an all out action shoot-em-up in the vein of Bad Boys II and Point Break. This final act sits a little uncomfortably with the rest of the film (though it provides the film’s most darkly comic moments), but its witty set-pieces and breathless momentum colluded to get my adrenaline pumping in a way that very few de rigueur Hollywood films have even come close to doing in recent years. Perhaps Pegg has learned from his experiences making Mission: Impossible III?
We come back to Shaun of the Dead again in summing up; this review is bound to it as Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s careers may prove to be. Yes, Shaun of the Dead was one-in-a-million, but Hot Fuzz is at least one in-several-hundred-thousand.
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