(Release Date: February 14, 2007)
(US Release Date: April 20, 2007)
Our story begins with London's finest... LITERALLY! The Super-Cop does exist with enough power, action, thrills and suspense to make Robocop look like John McClane and John McClane look like John McCain and John McCain look like Shirley MacLaine and Shirley MacLaine look like... I don't know... Eddie Deezan or somebody (this bit got old about three names ago). His name is Sergeant Nicholas Angel, is played by the incomparable Simon Pegg, and he is, oh, yes, the Ultimate Police Officer. He couldn't be more by the book if he was standing by an enormous book with the word "THE" on the cover. (Sorry... long weekend, you loyal readers will forgive that one right?)
Through a series of jealous machinations (by, amongst others, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighy), Angel finds himself in the quaint little village of Sandford, Village of the Year winner and all around pleasant place to prop up the old foot-bones.
Soon, Angel the Incredible Cop finds himself rubbing elbows with townsfolk so pleasurable to be around it's almost creepy... Even for Angel... who was once stabbed by Father Christmas (played by... no shit... Peter Jackson! Sorry Angel!). There's the local Supermarket owner named Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton[!]) There's the local Doctor (Stuart Wilson), who is responsible for delivering most of the babies in town... his name is "Robin Hatcher". Don't forget Roy and Mary Porter (Peter Wight and Julia Deakin), the underage-friendly barkeeps, or the lumbering bag-boy nicknamed "Lurch" (Rory McCann) or the "Butcher Brothers" (Kevin and Nicholas Wilson, just waiting for a new UO album to produce) or the packin' Padre known as Rev. Philip Shooter (Paul Freeman). The list of so normal it's odd townsfolk goes on and on, and up and up, right into the Police Station itself, which is led by Jim Broadbent's Inspector Frank Butterman, whose idea of punitive measures for his staff includes making them buy cake and ice cream when they... oh, I don't know... drink, drive and crash.
From the empty evidence locker, the dusty, unused and hedgehog infested riot gear storage room, the quirky (and clichéd) detectives known as "The Andys" (Paddy Considine's DS Andy Wainwright and Rafe Spall's DC Andy Cartwright) and the "Lady Cop" who has been "all around" the station (Olivia Colman's PC Doris Thatcher), this isn't exactly what ol' Nicholas would consider a "Tight Ship". And that's especially when he meets his new partner, Nick Frost's hilariously oblivious PC Danny Butterman... how better to describe him than... "Spaced"?
Aside from the obvious nepotism Danny's name might imply, he's also got a rather casual relationship with reality, having informed his police sensibilities with every American Cop Movie from Dirty Harry to Lethal Weapon to Die Hard... but his favorites (and the ones both laughingly paid tribute to and viciously skewered by Hot Fuzz) are Bad Boys II and Point Break. Man, oh, man, when Danny meets a real Super-Cop, he's quite sure ol' Nick hung the moon. Nicholas, on the other hand, is quite sure he's in Hell when he discovers the most action he's seeing is the running search for the runaway Elvis the Swan (played by... Elvis the Swan).
Strangely, before Angel is fully moved in, grizzly death scenes start piling up a tally of bodies. Angel is sure there's a Serial Killer on the loose, while the rest of the town (including his fellow Officers of the Law) maintain that this spree is merely a streak of accidents. Does the concept of a brit cop traveling out to the country to solve a major case with uncooperative townsfolk all around him sound a little like The Wicker Man? Did I mention that the Neighborhood Watch Association (NWA) leader, Tom Weaver, is played by Edward Woodward? S'true... and that's not the only hilarious homage either. An Omen-style death scene bleeds all over the screen right about when we realize that Billie Whitelaw is in the cast (as Joyce Cooper).
Though not truly a spoof, Hot Fuzz has all the Action Cop Drama bases covered like a green wool blanket. The use of startling action cues in the score by David Arnold to accentuate such mundane actions as reaching for a telephone receiver or pouring a pint of bitter keeps the audience laughing. The complex cop theories is made farce of here to great degrees, as is the cliché of the loner cop facing great danger on his own, when back up would make more sense. There's even a comical touch on the suggestively homosexual relationship between "Cop Buddies" in, well, cop buddy movies.
This is also a pretty damned gory and violent comedy, not quite up to the eviscerating levels of Shaun of the Dead, but definitely higher than your average farce. Make no mistake, though this is primarily a Cop Buddy action comedy, it's also a slasher flick, and a fair amount of comedy is derived from spurts of blood and impossible gore.
And it works. After all, this was co-penned by Simon Pegg with his writing partner Edgar Wright (who also directed), and the same hilarious English Sensibilities that went into previous works of theirs is found in Hot Fuzz. The film references a hell of a lot of other movies (even showing parts of Bad Boys II and Point Break for good measure) and puts twists on the clichés found in their reference material, but Hot Fuzz never feels derivative or tried. There's a lot of violence and blood, but it serves the comedy well, never overshadowing it. The comical add-ins like quirky cameos (even Cate Blanchett shows up at one point) and over-the-top musical cues never pushes the limits to the point that it gets old. In short, they thought of just about everything and have delivered a movie that embraces farce, but also frees up the funny in its own never predictable right.
The flaws here are few, though nitpickers might have a field day here. There is a ground in reality that gets bent when convenient, and a few plot points that end up... you know what, screw this... if you're going to nitpick Hot Fuzz you've got too much time on your hands. It's not perfect, but it's damned good. Let's leave it like that, all naked.
Edger Wright, Nick Frost... Simon Pegg... what will they think of next? He can battle Zombies... Slashers... Ex-Girlfriends... Simon Pegg can do anything. Including arrest Four Stars out of Five. I wonder who would win in a battle between Simon Pegg and Daredevil. Probably Pegg, but it'd be close. Simon Pegg Versus Marlee Matlin? Hmmm... Simon Pegg, but they'd probably be friends, not enemies. How about against Jane Pauley? Pegg. Versus The Exorcist? Simon Pegg. Joey Buttafuco? Pegg... UNARMED! Simon Pegg Versus Shrek? Simon Pegg, man! Simon Pegg Versus the 1986 Chicago Bears? If Edgar Wright is coaching Pegg's side... Pegg. How about against The NRA? Well, he beat the NWA, so why not? Simon Versus the ASPCA? Well... Simon Pegg, but I think he'd be nice to them. Fighting Al Gore? Definitely Pegg. How about Versus Boba Fett? Um... Pegg. He'd be like "Uh-oh, look out, a Saarlaac!" and Boba'd be all "WHERE?" and Pegg'd win. Simon Pegg in a battle against The Poet Virgil? Um... Simon Pegg, unless he goes all Dante. Pegg Versus Pinhead from Hellraiser? Pegg'd find a way. Simon Pegg Versus the Joker? Pegg would peg him while laughing. Simon Pegg Versus PMS? Um... I imagine it'd be new ground for him, but he could both prevail and help women the globe over. Simon Pegg Versus the X-Men? Peeeeeeeeegg! Pegg Versus the USC Trojans Marching Band? With or without Fleetwood Mac? Um... Pegg. Simon Pegg Versus Ronald McDonald? Actually, I think we covered that one with "The Joker"! Simon Pegg Versus Fleetwood Mac? With or without the USC Trojans Marching Band? Um... Pegg. Pegg Versus Monica Lewinsky? Monica, maybe. Simon Pegg Versus Four out of Five Dentists? Well, he's British, so... No... No, Pegg! Pegg! Pegg Versus the Children of the Damned? Well? Isn't he one? Simon Pegg Versus Kindergarten Cop? Oh, PEGG! But against Leatherface? Definitely Pegg. Simon Pegg Versus Brian Boitano? At what? Pegg! Simon Pegg Versus Darth Maul? Oh, wait, he really is friends with Darth Maul. Pegg Versus The New Kids on the Block? Pe-he-hegg! Simon Pegg Versus a Colony of Armed Amish Savages infected by the Zombie Virus on a tour bus formerly owned by Slayer and wearing "Can't Touch This!" Tee Shirts intent on making him into a lamp shade and an end table FROM HELL?
... It'd be close...
See you in the next reel.
I read reviews today, oh boy.
All from a Funky man who went insane.
And though his readers are all quite mad...
They keep clicking this link...
What a bunch... of... dinks.
I'd love to Turn... You... On...
What's that Movie? Danny, did you fart or are you just Watching Point Break?
At last we will reveal ourselves to the Druids... at last we will have revenge!
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