The British buddy-cop movie Hot Fuzz works miraculously on both the level of parody and homage. Though it subverts the cliches of the action flicks made famous by folks like Michael Bay, Shane Black (as a writer in the early 90’s he practically invented the genre), Jerry Bruckheimer and recently by the tepid entries from Brett Ratner, it’s clear that this isn’t spoof. There is too much admiration from the filmmakers working here. It’s easy to see that even as they make fun of say, Bad Boys II or Point Break, they love those movies for the cheezy spectacle they clearly are.
In this sense, Hot Fuzz delivers like few movies have this year with doses of subtle humor, gross-out gags, hilarious set pieces, joyous gunplay sequences, a knockout cast (Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, including a cameo from Cate Blanchett and an unrecognizable Paddy Considine delivering one of the best lines in the movie, “Don’t go being a twat now”) and a sure-handed direction from Edgar Wright. Wright’s camera is never showy, even when it’s clear that the work of a master is on hand, adeptly moving between the nuanced comedy bits and flashy action sequences.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a dot-the-i-cross-the-t supercop, excelling at his job where others merely dream of. His arrest rate as a London cop is 400% higher than anyone else’s. And for that, because excellence is rarely rewarded in life, he is demoted to be a sergeant in the sleepy town of Sandford. Despite his protestations, he packs his bags for a life of rescuing swans, dealing with underage drinkers, problems clearly beneath the expertise of Angel.
There’s lots of crime, but little prosecution since that would ruin the town’s safe reputation. Angel is paired up with the doughy Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), who longs for the life of a cop he’s only seen in the movies. And just as the despair begins to set in for Angel, two local actors are killed, (after staging a humerous rendition of Baz Lurman’s Romeo + Juliet) with their decapitated heads left by the side of the road. Rather than accept the accident as fact, Angel begins to investigate, his intuition in overdrive and his hapless sidekick Danny along for the ride. As more and more towns folk begin to die by “accident” Angel decides to take things into his own hands.
There’s lots going on here, and structurally the movie is aces. Each scene builds upon the previous one and the characters of Danny and Nick are fully-realized, so that the audience anticipates Angel finally picking up a gun and you can’t help but shout in glee during the almost half-hour finale when Angel and Butterman roll into town guns blazing and especially during the final set piece set in a model town. It’s absurdly funny, both in its execution and it’s chortleness.
Equally on par with their zombie lovefest Shaun of the Dead.
Disc specs and Extras:
Universal presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and in 5.1 surround. The disc is packed, though, the HD-DVD version and
“The Fuzzball Rally” which takes you through Wright, Pegg, and Frost’s tour of the US (28 min.); there’s “The Man who Would Be Fuzz (1 min.) with the boys doing a dinner scene as Sean Connery and Michael Caine again; outtakes (10 min.), “Danny’s Notebook: The other side” (1 min.), 22 deleted scenes with optional commentary (21 min.) and “Hot Funk,” the British TV dub “Funk off” (4 min.) There’s also a trailer and three TV spots. And there’s an Easter Egg by going to languages, hit left, up right for 30 seconds of joy.