Hot Fuzz

Director    Edgar Wright
Starring    Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Paddy Considine
Release    April 20th (US) February 14th (UK)    Certificate 15
5 stars


19th February 2007

Imagine if you commanded the power to make any film your imagination could conjure up. At the press of a button, teams of minions would go trawling high and low for racks of guns, gallons of blood, and enough nubile young starlets to fill every position. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright possess this power and deservedly so, as evidenced by the only decent British sit-com in years, Spaced, and the superior rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead. But as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility, and the hopes of a nation's flagging film industry lie on the shoulders of these relative newcomers to the scene. Fortunately, the awesome twosome have done us proud yet again by producing a rather fine slice of genre-hopping, humour-laden, shotgun-wielding... er, pie.

Hot Fuzz is the story of Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Pegg), London's finest Police Officer - so fine, in fact, that he's making the rest of the boys in blue look bad. Caught up in the bizarre politics of police bureaucracy, Angel finds himself transferred to the sleepy village of Sandford; a town so quiet the only signs of life are a few underage drinkers and an unruly swan. Partnered with lovable oaf PC Danny Butterman (an ever-expanding Frost), Angel becomes increasingly worn down by the humdrum of country life, eventually relenting to Butterman's love for beer and Hollywood action movies. Just as Angel seems to begrudgingly settle into this new role, a series of grisly (oh boy are they grisly) murders reveal a sinister side to the community. It wouldn't be a whodunit without a fiendish plot twist, and as the bodies pile-up, so does the list of suspects, notably sinister supermarket boss Simon Skinner (Dalton). The conclusion is a joy to behold, seeing Angel and Butterman acting out the sort of high-octane scenes they'd only previously seen in Michael Bay movies.

The movie effortlessly leaps from drama, to action, and back again, all with tongue placed firmly in cheek. So what are we seeing here? One minute it's a Midsomer Murders pastiche, the next a John Woo wet dream, cut with quick fire CSI-style mini montages all the while. The atmosphere swings between broody and jolly - you never know what's going to happen next, yet it's all eerily familiar thanks to various nods and homages. The last quarter of the movie literally had my brain swimming in circles as it tried to figure out what the heck my face should be doing.

Much has been made of the action scenes, and you may be quite surprised at how long the build up is until the real fun begins - when the boys finally bring the noise, it arrives in a fantastically glorious, over-the-top fashion that leaves you with the sort of grin usually reserved for the animal bits on You've Been Framed. That's not to say the action or the comedy infringes on the depth found in Angel and Butterman's newly-formed kinship. The crux of the movie lies where Pegg and Wright excel; bringing out the heart of a story through its characters, whether they are surrounded by slapstick visuals, crass sex gags, or ear-splitting gunfire. For the same reason Peter Jackson's Braindead isn't just a gross-out bloodbath, the story-telling is never demoted to second place for the sake of a cheap action shot. Everything is presented for a reason.

It's clear from the beginning that, whilst stylistically Hot Fuzz shares a lot in common with Shaun of the Dead, the motives behind the two films couldn't be more different. Pegg's character in Shaun is fighting to save a relationship with the woman he loves, whereas in Fuzz he is willing to leave it all behind for his career. Moreover, Fuzz is a buddy movie through and through, rather than a romantic exploration of friendship. Although we're initially introduced to Butterman as a drunken comedy foil, his enthusiasm for police work is enough to ensure that Angel treats him as his equal, never belittling Butterman for not keeping up with a chase, or failing to handle situations with the same aplomb as himself. This treatment of Butterman and the resultant friendship are vital to the plot - much more than any explosion or squib could ever be.

All in all, Hot Fuzz is an uplifting experience and is up there with the Lethal Weapons and Die Hards in the action/comedy stakes. The quality of Pegg's writing and character-building is more than matched by Wright's flair in direction and pace. There's enough tradition to keep it familiar, but enough variation to stop it becoming stale. The cast of regulars from all over the current British comedy scene were spot-on, and the superb ensemble of vintage thespians on hand is more than testament to how much Pegg and Wright are trusted at such an early stage in their careers. So for showing the rest how it should be done, and rejuvenating an area of film sorely neglected in this country, Hot Fuzz wins full marks. Don't like it? Jog on.

More:  Action  Comedy  OTT  Crackers
Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This