Fans of the sleeper hit “Shaun of the Dead” will not be disappointed by “Hot Fuzz.” The second pairing of the writing, directing and acting talents of Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “A Fistful of Fingers”) and Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Mission: Impossible III”) is worth the watch.
Just as “Shaun of the Dead” is a spoof of horror movies, “Hot Fuzz” is a spoof of action flicks. More specifically, these movies lampoon particular types of films within those genres: zombie and police movies.
This film focuses on Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg). He is an officer who is too good at his job, and his London co-workers want to get rid of him because he makes them look bad. So he is promoted and reassigned to a seemingly sleepy countryside English town.
While British comedies don’t ordinarily draw large numbers of American audiences, this film has enough explosions, gunfire and bloodshed to bridge the cultural divide and keep American audiences entertained.
The laughs aren’t as steady as in “Shaun of the Dead,” but they’re just as quirky, clever and right on the mark when it comes to spoofing other police films. This movie even goes so far as to mention some of the more popular movies in the genre by name, like “Point Break” and “Bad Boys II.”
Just as in the previous film, the writing is so tight that there is no casual dialogue that isn’t later used as a punch line. And there are plenty of punch lines — some of which, no doubt, will be repeated for years to come.
Fans of “Shaun of the Dead” will also recognize the reappearance of such actors as Martin Freeman (“Love Actually,” “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) and Bill Nighy (“Underworld: Evolution,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”) in bit parts.
There are even surprise cameos by Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson that you have to be really quick to catch.
Overall, the acting in “Hot Fuzz” is brilliant straight across the board. It’s obvious that everyone involved had fun with this film and wanted to be there.
While “Hot Fuzz” has a more unrestrained approach and a bigger budget than “Shaun of the Dead,” this didn’t stop the filmmakers from resorting to cheap sets like grocery stores or easy special effects like red lighting. This only serves to enhance the film, giving the viewer scenes that no other police action film has contained. It also ties the film to its creators’ roots in independent filmmaking.
Yet this “no holds barred” attitude also means the swearing, bloodletting and gore push the rating on this film to an “R.” Various instruments are used to impale several victims, and the F-word is peppered throughout.
“Hot Fuzz” isn’t something parents should let their children see if they are concerned about such things. But those who appreciate smart humor and are mature enough to enjoy it will find it well worth the cost of admission.
4 stars (out of 5)
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost,
Directed by Edgar Wright