Hot Fuzz

Released: 2007
Director: Edgar Wright

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost


Another hit from the masters of British comedy

In Shaun of the Dead Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost brilliantly parodied zombie movies, while at the same time creating a damn good film which fits nicely into the list of great horror films. The follow-up, Hot Fuzz, saw the trio turn their attention to that well known staple of everyone’s DVD collection – the cop movie.

Pegg plays PC Nicholas Angel, a highly skilled London cop with an arrest record that makes everyone else in the Metropolitan Police look bad. To save the blushes of the capital’s finest Angel is promoted to Sergeant and sent to the sleepy village of Sandford in Gloucestershire where the only local crimes appear to be a bit of underage drinking and some graffiti. Angel soon discovers there is more to the area than meets the eye when a number of local residents are killed in tragic “accidents”. With his new partner PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) teaching him the lessons of the buddy movie, Angel soon finds himself in a deadly battle to keep Sandford safe.

Just as Shaun of the Dead paid homage to the great zombie movies, Hot Fuzz is something of a love letter to cop films – particularly buddy-movies. Some are referenced explicitly such as Point Break and Bad Boys 2 but many more were influential in the creation of Hot Fuzz. Apparently writers Pegg and Wright used over 100 action films as their inspiration while developing the script. I can’t say that I know what all 100 are, but next time I watch it I’ll definitely be keeping a look out for source materials.

Simon Pegg is great as Angel – not the slacker character we’re used to from Pegg, Angel is driven and committed to his work. Nick Frost improves on his fine performance in Shaun of the Dead – Danny is undoubtedly an oaf of the highest order, but he’s lovable and much more pleasant than his previous incarnation as Ed. The real joy comes from the supporting cast – virtually every British thespian to appear in front of a camera has a role here. Timothy Dalton camps it up nicely as Simon Skinner, the sinister Somerfield supremo. Other notable faces include Edward Woodward, Jim Broadbent, Billie Whitelaw, Anne Reid and Bill Nighy. The scenery is chewed up marvelously and everyone seems to be having a bloody good time, which in turn means the audience shares in that good time.

As with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is more than just a spoof. It is a great comedy cop movie in its own right and has some great gory moments, horror films don’t make me jump but the falling church spire never fails to make me squirm. The final shoot-out is both exciting and so over-the-top that it makes me laugh every single time I watch the film. Above all Hot Fuzz is a brilliant comedy, every time I watch it (which is fairly regularly) I find another little thing to laugh at that I haven’t seen before. On this latest viewing it was a DVD in the bargain bucket that looked remarkably like Shaun of the Dead. My favourite sight gag though is the swear box in the police station – with swear words starred out, except the most offensive of the lot….

This is the second film in the so-called Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, the final part is still in the pipeline but Simon Pegg’s burgeoning Hollywood career makes it likely that we’ve got a while to wait yet. Console yourself by watching Hot Fuzz over and over again. It’s definitely worth it.

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