Hot Fuzz ***1/2
Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg
Simon Pegg as Sergeant Nicholas Angel
Nick Frost as PC Danny Butterman
Jim Broadbent as Inspector Frank Butterman
Adam Buxton as Tim Messenger
Olivia Colman as PC Doris Thatcher
Paddy Considine as DS Andy Wainwright
Steve Coogan as Metropolitan Police Inspector
Ron Cook as George Merchant
Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner
Kevin Eldon as Sergeant Tony Fisher
Martin Freeman as Metropolitan Desk Seargent
Paul Freeman as Reverend Philip Shooter
Stephen Merchant as Peter Ian Staker
Bill Nighy as Metropolitan Chief Inspector Kenneth
Rafe Spall as DS Andy Cartwright
Billie Whitelaw as Joyce Cooper
121 Minutes(Rated R for violent content including some graphic images, and language).
"Hot Fuzz" is a complete blast from beginning to end, and an ingenious satire. This is to cop and actions movies as "Shaun of the Dead" was to zombie features, and it makes sense that the three responsible for that brilliant film are all responsible for this one. Sadly, "Hot Fuzz" does not live up to "Shaun of the Dead" which I find to be a masterpiece the more times I see it, but perhaps all "Hot Fuzz" needs are another few viewings and I will be whistling the same tune. Now to really appreciate "Hot Fuzz" I suppose one needs to have a little bit of knowledge when it comes to action (Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg claimed to have watched roughly 200 action films in a row for the sake of "research), and one must care for British humor. I am sure that a lot of the jokes in "Hot Fuzz" did go over my head, but there is still enough for everyone-after all they did release it in America.
Simon Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London super cop whose antics may have made London safer, but have made the rest of the cops on the force(or staff, because the word force does not sound as good) look bad. In an ingenious opening scene where Angel is transferred to the village of Sandford, there are cameos from three great British actors-Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and lastly Bill Nighy. Angel packs up his bags and moves to Sandford, which is claimed to be the safest village in the entire country. There hasn't been a murder in over twenty years. Angel ends up meeting the large colorful crew in the village, and makes pals with Danny Butterman, the son of the Inspector Frank Butterman. Danny is a kind soul who loves action movies, and wants to know everything from how many guns Angel has fired while jumping in the air, and if there is a spot on a persons head that will explode if he is shot there. However something strange is happening in the village, and one by one some people are being killed. The town calls them accidents, but Angel begins to get a little curious and investigates in the comings and goings of Simon Skinner, a rich man in town who runs a giant grocery store. But Angel is about to discover that there is indeed more to the killings that meets the eye, and perhaps his original notions and theories are completely wrong.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost make a great team, and while their characters as Angel and Butterman may not be as memorable or even as quotable as Shaun and Ed in "Shaun of the Dead," they are both hilarious nonetheless. Wright assembled a much grander cast this time, and in addition to the three actors on the force, there is Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, and even Paddy Considine playing a character that isn't losing his mind. Considine should do more comedy, and whenever he appeared on the screen I started laughing. There are also unbilled cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson, the former which I did notice, and the latter which I didn't realize until I read about it later on. I kind of want to see the film again now that I know where to stop him(Hint-ho ho ho). The script is much longer than the film should be, but I do think that this is a spoof of the action genre that they are doing. Most action films end up going much longer than they should, often times having run times in the triplet digits when they should only be in double. All of it is leading to the amazing action finale(about 30 minutes, I'd say) that takes no prisoners. There is an impaling, seniors getting punched in the face and firing guns, and even a priest getting shot and shouting "Jesus Christ." The script is ingenious in the many plot twists that end up occurring, and the four endings that are cleverly tacked on at the end. I knew it was a joke, and wished that they kept going. The two of them eventually don cool shades, toothpicks, and begin to say witty phrases whenever one of the bad guys reaches a demise.
For "Shaun of the Dead' fans there are a lot of references to that film in joke format. There are a lot of throwbacks to those jokes revamped a bit to fit these characters. In "Shaun of the Dead," the Pegg character attempts to jump over a fence only to fall when it caves in. In "Hot Fuzz," the Pegg character manages to leap over a series of fences like these, and then it is the Frost character that ends up making a fool of himself. There are a few others, one of the most notable for those who loved when Ed in "Shaun of the Dead' shouts "Yeaaa booy." And even through all of the action and costume jokes, probably the funniest subplot is the relationship that forms between Angel and Butterman. They become like brothers, and maybe even something more-including those long speeches where the cops talk about why they joined the force in the first place, all to the tune of some kind of sappy piano music. Wright and Pegg seriously did their job researching the action genre, with camera angles, music changes, and even the grain on the screen that appears during serious action sequences. "Hot Fuzz" made me wonder what they would do next-and even if they didn't do a homage or a spoof to anything I just want Wright, Pegg, and Frost to team up for something soon. They are too golden to ignore. "Hot Fuzz" is a lot of fun, and one of the year's best.