As the protagonist of director Edgar Wright’s action-comedy movie, Hot Fuzz, Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the best cop in London. In fact, he’s so good that he makes the rest of the police force look bad by comparison so he is “promoted” to the quiet, little town of Sandford to patrol the friendliest neighbourhood in the country. Partnered with Angel is PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a bumbling but loveable member of the community who is obsessed with action films and is in awe of his London colleague. Stuck chasing runaway swans and writing up under-age drinkers, Angel stubbornly maintains protocol until he uncovers a pattern of disturbing crimes perpetrated in the idyllic village. With a grisly, rising death count written off by everyone else as mere accidents, Angel must bring his brand of ironclad justice to Sandford before he becomes the next victim.
A hilarious send-up and mash-up of action and buddy-cop movie tropes, Hot Fuzz finds comedy in showing the less glamourous parts of police work, such as the tedious repetition of paperwork, but also culminates in an over-the-top, endless ammo shoot-out in the middle of the picturesque village. The eccentric, small-town residents also offer up a minefield of humour from which the writers glean.
Yet again, Edgar Wright excels in visual comedy while Pegg and Frost indulge in portraying their polar opposite roles with heart and humour. A huge roster of funny and familiar faces—from Martin Freeman and Stephen Merchant to Steve Coogan and Bill Bailey—also have cameos in Hot Fuzz (among many other frequent Wright collaborators) and James Bond himself makes an appearance as actor Timothy Dalton takes a major role.
As funny and clever as the film is, however, it occasionally derails from entertaining action to straight-up horror. There are many shockingly gory and violent scenes as murders are committed on-screen and the results are laid out in bloody and irreverent fashion. Additionally, a dragged out third act where Angel must decide whether or not to return to the village for a final showdown turns Hot Fuzz into the longest running film in the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy. Although these small issues weaken the film, it is still worth watching, both as a fun action film and as a satire of the genre.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 “Village of the Year” awards