Hot Fuzz


Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Hot Fuzz

How do you follow up a runaway success like rom-zom-com Shaun Of The Dead (2004)? Well, the team that brought us television's anarchic flat-sharing sit-com Spaced has come up with a simple answer: repeat the winning formula.

For, like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz transposes an essentially American genre (this time, the buddy cop flick) to archetypally English settings and characters, running riot with the absurd mismatches that ensue.

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Like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz features a dizzying array of comics familiar from British television (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, Bill Bailey, Olivia Colman, Adam Buxton), as well as less obviously comedic actors giving wonderfully hilarious turns (Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Anne Reid, Billie Whitelaw). And like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz builds from initial pantomime silliness to something altogether more monumentally over-the-top. All of which would be neither here nor there but for the film's one other point of intersection with Shaun of the Dead: it is laugh-out-loud funny.

So obsessively dedicated and highly decorated is Metropolitan police sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) that, in order to stop him making everyone else on London's force look bad, his superiors conspire to give him a posting out in rural Gloucestershire. Nicholas has difficulty adjusting to the quiet eccentricities of 'village of the year' Sandford, where his most important duty appears to be swan-catching, and where the closest his idiotic new partner PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) has come to seeing any action is watching dvds of Point Break and Bad Boys II.

Yet in this picture-perfect locale, something is not quite right. Sandford's murder rate may be low, but its fatal accident rate is suspiciously high - and Nicholas soon finds himself uncovering an unspeakable conspiracy, even as Danny at last gets to live out his every supercop fantasy.

Hot Fuzz is an incongrous blend of English and American cinematic traditions, where Hollywood action cliché meets Pythonesque surrealism and village green murder mystery collides with Peckinpah-style violence. There is definitely something sinister lurking in the woodshed as Edgar Wright and co. aim their blazing automatics directly at the insularity, small-mindedness and tacit bigotry of little Britain - and the result is a wild romp wherein the gentility of a Miss Marple detective drama soon dissolves into a chaotic amalgam of The League of Gentlemen, The Wicker Man and Straw Dogs, via pretty much every yankee cop movie ever made. It may end in a bloodbath - and a particularly vicious food fight - but this film's particular brand of pastiche is too knowing, and altogether too loving, to offend anybody - and there are enough gags, broad or otherwise, to reward several repeat viewings.

Hot Fuzz is probably a tad too long, but its editing is fast and furious, and you will never quite guess where it is going. Indeed, seldom is feature-length comedy so arresting.

Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2007
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Tongue-in-cheek British twist on the buddy cop genre.
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Read more Hot Fuzz reviews:

Kotleta ****1/2
Jennie Kermode ****

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy, Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Lucy Punch, Edward Woodward, Bill Bailey, Stuart Wilson, Paul Freeman, David Bradley, Rafe Spall, Anne Reid, Billie Whitelaw, Olivia Colman, Alice Lowe, Tim Barlow, Kevin Eldon, Adam Buxton, Joseph McManners, Alexander King, Stewart Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Peter Jackson

Year: 2007

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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