Reviewed Feb 01, 2012
Derek Deskins’s review:
Hot Fuzz is hardly just an action film, it is a smidge slasher, a dash of buddy cop and a hunk of comedy that when mixed together make for a delicious action extravaganza…yeah, I used the word extravaganza.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the most dedicated police officer in London’s Metropolitan Police Service. He excels in every aspect of his job and has an arrest record 400% higher than the rest of the force…err…service. The only problem with doing this well is that he is making everyone else look bad. To preserve their ego, the London division has Angel promoted to sergeant and transferred to Sandford, a rural village known for winning the honor of “Village of the Year”. Now in a village where a homicide hasn’t occurred for twenty years, Angel is paired with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), an action film junkie, and the two face their most pressing case, a wandering swan. Despite the apparent lack of action, a string of deaths pop up that seem odd to Angel, but no one else. As Angel investigates each death he finds that there is more going on in the little village than anyone ever suspected.
Hot Fuzz is great because it knows its audience and refuses to pander to it. To call the film a parody would be incorrect since parodies tend to put down their source. Just look at Mel Brooks or Abrahams/Zucker films, which I would list amongst the best examples of parody (if you bring up Date/Epic/Disaster Movie I will slap you through the screen), these films serve to make fun of their sources. They point out the flaws and exploit them for a laugh. Do not misunderstand me, when parody is done right it can be hilarious but Hot Fuzz is no parody. This film treats its source with a care that borders on love. At no point do the characters do something to point out how ridiculous action films can be, rather they revel in these moments. Hot Fuzz is much more in line with Scream, a film that recognizes its source and pays homage to it.
The film may take some time to go into full action mode, but the lead up is just as entertaining. Starting as more of a slasher/mystery film, Edgar Wright makes it so you really don’t mind the lack of hand-to-hand combat or gunplay. If you have already seen Wright’s previous film, Shaun of Dead, then you know that he is capable of making a film that tells an interesting and well-crafted story while allowing the humor to come about organically. There are moments of comedy that will work for the average viewer but to the informed viewer, some may call geek, they are funny on an entirely different level.
Once the film gets to the action, it pulls out all the stops. After already alerting the viewer to a clear source, films like Bad Boys II and Point Break, some may think that Wright has dug himself into a hole. If he has, he explodes out of it. Aviators abound, car chases fly by and everyone and their mother is outfitted with a firearm. If you try to keep track of all the action references you will give yourself a headache, but rest assured Wright covers the bases drawing inspiration from all the right places, from John Woo to Michael Bay. The shootout that kicks off the action is well choreographed and lasts for the perfect amount of time. Wright’s signature jump cuts are perfectly catered to the action genre. With the way he handles an action film it should come as no surprise that his next directing venture is in the comic book milieu with the upcoming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Oh, and you get to see an old lady get kicked in the face.
Hot Fuzz is another hit from the team of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The film is clearly made for and by action fans. Men jump through the air while firing guns, cock shotguns with one hand and engage in a high speed pursuit all while making sure to deliver snarky one-liners. Hot Fuzz is a comedy, but it is also all that an action film should be.