Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 2 hours 1 minute
MPAA Rating: R for Violent Content including some Graphic Images, and Language
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Rafe Spall & Timothy Dalton
In the realm of action-comedies, you really can’t do better than HOT FUZZ. The second installment of the so-called “Cornetto Trilogy” (also consisting of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and THE WORLD’S END) perfectly compresses tons of fun and clever humor into a perfectly paced two-hours. This feels like a British take on THE NAKED GUN with more action, an even better story, and non-stop laughs. Though I feel WORLD’S END may be the most emotionally executed and accomplished of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s Cornetto (a.k.a. Blood and Ice Cream) films, HOT FUZZ is my personal favorite entry!
Nicholas Angel is an outstanding Constable patrolling the streets of London. His flawless arrest record and vast achievements are making all other officers look bad in comparison. Therefore, he’s unwillingly promoted to the position of Sergeant and moved to Sanford, a small quiet countryside town. Angel’s overachiever attitude draws frustration from his new laid-back department, scrutiny of the small townsfolk and admiration from dimwitted Constable Danny Butterman. After a number of suspicious deaths are ruled as mere accidents, Angel and Butterman try to capture a mysterious hooded assailant and prove that a murderous plot is occurring under the squeaky clean surface of Sanford.
The script behind HOT FUZZ is a work of comedic genius and has multiple layers of jokes that reward repeat viewings. The film works as three distinct different genres at once. It’s an original flick that holds up on its own sense of humor, but manages to perfectly spoof action movie clichés in a way that simultaneously ridicules the tropes of the genre and shows love for them. Besides working as two distinctly different types of comedy, the film is also an action flick through and through. This is complete with gun-fights, a suspenseful mystery, bloody murders, and explosions. Just because there’s a sense of humor to be had, that doesn’t mean the violence is in short supply. This is a bloody movie that sports one of the most memorable gory kills of all-time, but it’s all played in a humorous way. The final 30 minutes are also something special to behold in one of the most amazing showdowns in cinematic history and I’m absolutely serious in that compliment.
HOT FUZZ fires jokes like the high-speed of a machine gun. These laughs are hilarious during the first watch, but actually grow even funnier with each consecutive viewing. Lots of subtleties become obvious in clues thrown into foreshadowing bits of dialogue. This makes the film absolutely hysterical and reveals just how much attention to detail was paid during every step of construction. One running joke involving an escaped swan that pops up throughout different points of the action had me in stitches. Aside from being slightly better than SHAUN OF THE DEAD, this installment from Edgar Wright showcases a massive improvements on the technical side of things as the film looks slick (much like the action movies that it’s poking fun at).
The real meat of the movie comes in the characters as every one of these people could be a star in their own movie. Simon Pegg shines as Nicholas Angel playing a completely straight-faced character and stand-up action hero the entire time. Some of the biggest laughs come from him being out of his element in the small country environment. Nick Frost could have just turned the character of Danny into a bumbling sidekick, but adds a sweetness to him that makes the viewer root for this good-natured moron to kick some ass. Other stand outs (all of the cast members are too many to list) include Timothy Dalton as a smug obvious suspect who throws out murderous puns in his dialogue and two lazy moustached detectives known as “The Andys.” Memorable little cameos also are sprinkled through the run time as well, including a particularly awesome one from Cate Blanchett that could easily sneak by unnoticed.
Extreme attention to detail, smart writing, and well fleshed out characters make HOT FUZZ one of the best comedies to come out of the 2000’s and one of my all-time favorite comedies. This is one of those rare films that keeps increasing in quality with each repeat viewing, but was already perfect to begin in the first place. HOT FUZZ works as an action movie, a spoof of action movies, and a standalone comedy. If you haven’t seen this film yet, check it out as soon as humanly possible. Fun and laughs are guaranteed!