Genre: Action Comedy Running Time: 2 hrs. 1 min.
Release Date: April 20th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Edgar Wright Actors: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman
n “Hot Fuzz” – a fiendishly witty farce just as scathingly hilarious as its predecessor – the creators of “Shaun of the Dead” swap zombies for all things action. An impressive ensemble of talented actors joins Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and writer/director Edgar Wright as they lovingly mock high-octane classics from “Point Break” to “Bad Boys” to “Hard Boiled.” In one of the most intelligently scripted films of the year, buildings explode, clips expend, and cars fly through the air in slow-motion as this no-holds-barred kaleidoscope of action leaves no adventure cliché untouched and no old lady unscathed.
Reluctantly, veritable supercop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) transfers to the sleepy rural town of Sandford after his unmatched law enforcement records and merits put too much competitive pressure on the rest of London’s mediocre police force. Finding it difficult to adapt to the overly peaceful community, Angel befriends fellow officer Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a dimwitted flatfoot who admires the reputation of the decorated detective. But when seemingly random citizens start meeting untimely, “accidental” deaths, Angel suspects foul play. Back in the thick of things and anxious for conflict, he sets off to expose a dangerous serial killer and uncover the dark conspiracy surrounding Sandford’s tranquil facade – all whilst shooting two guns and jumping through the air.
“Hot Fuzz” pays tribute to every staple of the action film genre – from high-speed car chases and blazing shoot-outs to daredevil stunts and hard-to-kill villains. Every fundamental is addressed and astutely parodied, with numerous paradigmatic films at the ready for inspiration. The homages to hugely popular pictures are crystal clear, but the genre-spoofing moviemakers have done their homework – scenes derived from “First Blood,” “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon,” Sergio Leone’s “The Man With No Name” trilogy, “Straw Dogs,” “Chinatown,” “Brannigan,” and countless others are lampooned with varying degrees of subtlety, each being every bit as amusing, especially for eagle-eyed action connoisseurs.
Reprising his role as the serious character in a bizarrely comical situation, Simon Pegg once again provides plenty of laughs as the take-charge, fish-out-of-water who unwittingly becomes involved in a sinister conspiracy. Nick Frost also lends his familiar, funny-man persona, this time as a bumbling police officer pining for the extreme action he sees glorified in cinema. Other regulars include Bill Nighy as the London Chief Inspector and Martin Freeman as a desk sergeant, along with supporting parts by Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, and Edward Woodward (quite fitting, considering a few nods to “The Wicker Man”). Veteran actor Timothy Dalton also appears as Simon Skinner, the devilish manager of a local grocery store, while Rafe Spall and Paddy Considine bring a refreshing sarcasm to the two mustachioed officers Cartwright and Wainwright. It’s an impressively well-rounded cast for a project many might consider – at first glance – to be too insincere (or of B-movie quality) to garner such attention.
“Hot Fuzz” takes a decidedly R-rated approach to the action, dialogue, and violence, which occasionally stretches the humor thin or gives the firefights a touch of contrasting ruthlessness (as if aiming to spoof slasher flicks right alongside actioners). But somewhere between brutal decapitations and roundhouse kicking an elderly woman in the head comes a stylishly sadistic brand of comedy as diabolically hilarious as it sounds; blood flies neck and neck with the jokes. In each new arena and with every different genre set for a send-up, it’s hard to deny that the collaboration of Pegg, Frost, and Wright knows how to get a laugh. The result here is a raucous riot of sharp quips and glorious carnage, bloody battles mixed with cunning caricatures and witty mimicry – a sublime combination not seen since the contemporary-classic action films it so purposefully parodies.
– Joel Massie