DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: HOT FUZZ

Tuesday, 24 April 2007


Hot Fuzz (2007) dir. Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost


Hot off the success of “Shaun of the Dead”, the team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have created a worthy successor in “Hot Fuzz” – a spoof of buddy-cop films that has more humour, intelligence and reverence than any of the “Scary Movie”/”Epic Movie”/”Teen Movie” series of films.

In the opening backstory we learn Super-cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) has directed his whole life to work for the London police. His illustrious career has been spent kicking ass and taking names. And so, when his promotion to Sergeant forces him to move to Sanford, a quiet English hamlet in the country, Nicholas’ dreams are shattered.

In Sanford, Nicholas is a fish out of water, and quickly his big-city instincts annoy the small town locals. His fellow policemen and women are antiquated in their equipment, procedures and political correctness. Angel is teamed up with Constable Butterman (Nick Frost), a pudgy fanboy of adrenaline action films, who appears to have had his training from his enormous DVD collection. “Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?” Butterman asks Angel. Of course the question is referring to the John Woo, Michael Bay films stunted male film buffs memorize and replay over and over again.

Writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are two of these stunted males who are clearly highly literate in the world of action cinema. The story moves with the pace of a Bruckheimer film, but with the wit of a “Faulty Towers” episode. Angel’s arrow-straight professionalism contrasted with the aw-shucks small-town life is hilarious – specifically Angel’s first assignment to find a runaway goose. When a few townsfolk start dying under mysterious circumstances, the plot gets rolling and Angel and Butterman even find themselves in a few good action scenes of their own.

Just as important as the action are the montages, and there are plenty (and perhaps too many). Wright over-dramatizes every transition and every unnecessary close-up with dramatic auditory punch. The opening of a locker, pouring a pint of beer, taking a mug-shot photo, scribbling a note onto paper all become seizure-inducing elements over-stimulation.

Deservedly so, Pegg, Wright and Frost command major respect in their home country, evidenced by the impressive team of actors assembled – Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Martin Freeman, Billy Whitelaw, Paddy Considine, Steve Coogan and more. Apparently there are even a couple of unrecognizable high-profile cameos – try and find Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson in there.

The finale is like “The Wild Bunch” with tea and crumpets. A series of Bay-worthy action set pieces and car chases, slow motion shot-guns, glib-one-liners and creative death scenes. By the end the quota of dead bodies, explosions, and spent shotgun shells has been achieved. Michael Bay, John Woo, and John Cleese would approve. Enjoy.


Patrick said...

Just got back from the theatre, and I have to say I might nominate Hot Fuzz for the Sophomore Slump list. It was good, definitely - but not great. I think I would have liked it better if it stayed more spoof and less homage, because eventually the movie became what it beheld and lost its sense of humour in a relentless hail of 3rd act bullets. During the climactic action sequence I found myself checking my watch.

I felt the same way about the smash cuts and close ups as you, but most of all I think Hot Fuzz lacks the heart that made Shaun of the Dead work on more than one level. Still, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have great chemistry and the rest of the cast was like a who's who of British talent - even if they're only in cameos. Edward Woodward was in there too somewhere, for old-timer Equalizer fans like me. Too bad I missed him.

caitlin-od said...

I saw it last week and laughed hysterically. They left no joke unfinished including finding the kid at the end who's actually called Anthony A. Anderson.

Alan Bacchus said...

Thanks for both your comments. Patrick, SoD was a tough act to follow, the bar was set high. And I agree, it didn't have the 'heart' that SoD did.

Patrick said...

FYI for those who are interested, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright gave a good interview on Creative Screenwriting Magazine's Podcast last Friday.