Directed By: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton
Tag line: "Big Cops. Small Town. Moderate Violence"
Trivia: Simon Pegg had weapons training in preparation for his role as Nick Angel, and also learned how to skid a bicycle properly along the way
Edgar Wright, who scored a hit with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, continues his assault on genre cinema with the hilarious 2007 movie, Hot Fuzz, a motion picture that’s as much a high-octane action film as it is a side-splitting comedy.
Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the finest policeman in all of London. In fact, he’s a little too good at his job, and many of his peers on the force are tired of him showing them up. So, in spite of his exemplary record, he’s shipped off to the small town of Sandford, a quiet community where nothing much happens. Partnered with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), the son of the chief Inspector (Jim Broadbent), Angel now spends his days searching for escaped geese and chasing down the occasional shoplifter. But when a series of tragic “accidents” occurs, resulting in the violent deaths of some of Sandford’s less popular citizens, Angel suspects foul play. He’s convinced the shifty Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), owner of the local supermarket, is behind it all, but is he the only culprit?
Pegg and Frost, who were excellent as the best pals in Shaun of the Dead, do a fine job as the “buddy” cops, two polar opposites who, despite their differences, work together to protect an entire village. Many of the film’s funnier moments stem from their unlikely partnership, with Frost’s Danny, who’s a big fan of action flicks, constantly pressing Pegg’s Sgt. Angel to talk about his days as a London police officer. When Angel reveals he was once stabbed, Danny asks what it felt like. “It was the single most painful experience of my life”, Angel replies, matter-of-factly. After a slight pause, Danny counters with, “What was the second most painful?” Before long, they begin to rub off on one another, with Danny taking his work more seriously, and the normally tight-assed Angel cutting loose from time to time (he even spends a night watching movies like Point Break with Danny). The two actors, who, aside from Shaun of the Dead, also teamed up for the sci-fi / comedy Paul in 2011, make for a likeable duo, and give the audience someone to root for when things start getting dangerous.
As funny as the film is, Hot Fuzz is also a fine action movie, featuring loads of excitement and some truly gory violence (one character gets their head crushed in by a stone gargoyle). To keep things moving along at a brisk pace, director Wright relies on quick cuts and sharp camera angles to accentuate the more intense scenes, culminating in a final act that’s out of this world. By presenting its action so convincingly, Hot Fuzz proves, in the end, to be much more than a parody, or an homage to movies like Dirty Harry and Mad Max; it’s a thrilling film in its own right, one that just happens to give us plenty to laugh about.