Movie Reviews | Apr 22nd, 2007
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Bill Bailey, Paddy Considine, Edward Woodward
Written By: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Stop everything you’re doing and go see this movie now. Because if you don’t, you’ll sadly regret it. Because it is by far the best movie in the first third of 2007, and I’m sure will stack up at the end of the year.
But hold on. Why, you ask, is it so good? Well there are so many reasons that it’s nearly impossible to start. For one, it’s made by the guys who gave us the British TV show Spaced, which is to this day the number one reason for a region free player, and of course their 2004 hit Shaun of the Dead. Now I loved Shaun of the Dead, and the general consensus for most people is that Hot Fuzz is just a teensy bit under Shaun, but in my opinion it surpasses it in depth of plot alone.
The film begins with London supercop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) getting “promoted,” a way for the higher ups at the station (great cameos from Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy) of getting him away to the small town of Sandford, mostly because he’s so good that he makes everyone else look bad. When in Sandford, he finds out that the small village life is a far cry from what he had faced in the big city. His partner, Danny, is obsessed with action films, namely Point Break and Bad Boys II, movies that are brilliantly alluded to throughout the film. Soon Nicholas stumbles upon a conspiracy that is far more dangerous than anything he has come across. And then it’s ass kicking time.
What I love about the movie is that it simultaneously parodies and homages the films from which it borrowed so much. From the action genre, there are the brilliant if cheeky one-liners, slow-motion camera work, and slightly over-the-top if still believable plot. The filmmakers don’t just point out the obvious, that yes, action movies are ridiculous – they embrace the preposterousness. Structurally, the film is more sound than Shaun of the Dead, with a cohesive and well thought out story arc and jokes that build through the whole film (listen to Danny’s early questions about the violent feats that Nicholas has performed – like jumping in the air and firing two guns).
What is also interesting is how the film refers to other genres. The plot is very consciously reminiscent of the British horror classic The Wicker Man, and even features that film’s protagonist, Edward Woodward in a far more sinister role. Moreover, the structure also refers back to the 1950s westerns, in which a righteous sheriff or ‘good guy’ had to fight against a whole corrupt society (see 1952’s High Noon for the perfect example). This is made more concrete in the climactic scene, in which Nicholas rides in on a horse.
Unlike Grindhouse, which pays tribute to genre films by mocking their ineptitude and hokeyness, Hot Fuzz truly loves and appreciates its predecessors. Taken as a straight action film, it delivers satisfying thrills and a cohesive plot. With the lens of a parodic comedy, it more than delivers the laughs, with Pegg playing the straight man and Frost the perfect comedic buddy. In fact, Frost really does steal the show, with wonderful comic timing and a wide-eyed innocence that really suits his character. Grindhouse, on the other hand, mocks the gratuitousness and bombast by looking at the elements of them that made them cheesy. In essence, without knowledge of what Grindhouse is referencing, ultimately the films are just bad.
So in conclusion, go see this fucking movie. More than once. More than thrice. But probably less than 200 times. Just to be safe.
Bottom Line: Bloody brilliant.
Favorite Scenes: The last half hour is better than every Will Smith movie combined.
Running Time: 121 minutes