I’ll keep this brief, because Hot Fuzz is like a gift: it’s not as fun if you don’t open it yourself. This is a film that straddles genres, as Shaun of the Dead did before it, and the result is something by turns contemplative and hilarious.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) has an arrest rate 400% higher than the next leading police officer in London. As such, his superior officers decree that he’s making the rest of them look bad, and they pack him off to the country town of Sandford. Sandford has one of the lowest crime rates in England but, as it turns out, it also has an incredibly large number of accidents (along the lines of people tripping and falling on their shears … across the throat). Angel is keen to investigate, and his partner Danny (Nick Frost) is more than happy to help.
Having not seen Shaun of the Dead, I was a bit worried at the beginning of Hot Fuzz. The camera was too claustrophobically close up, and Angel didn’t seem to have a personality. My fears were alleviated when, in quick succession, we get treated to the appearances of Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighy.
Hot Fuzz is great if you follow British actors and comedians. Jim Broadbent and Timothy Dalton have major roles, and everyone’s favourite Part Troll Bill Bailey shows up manning the desk of the Sandford Police Station.
For its first half, Hot Fuzz plays like a mystery with some good jokes thrown in and an entirely too obvious culprit. When I began to wonder how much further that aspect of the movie could go on, Pegg and director Edgar Wright changed gears into something considerably different. I can’t say what it is, but I was laughing almost ceaselessly from that point until the end. As a movie gear shift goes it’s not quite as surprising as Adaptation, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome; essentially it keeps on getting better and better until it crescendoes into a massive explosion of a movie that really loves movies – and that’s easily the best kind of movie.
Hot Fuzz is a devil to review because I really, really don’t want to give any of it away. If you’ve trusted or believed my word in the past, I can really only tell you to go and see Hot Fuzz, with the advisory that it can get pretty violent.
For the greater good!