Wow, I loved Hot Fuzz. I loved it more than I expected too. You see I'm a bit of a zombie nut (this is relevant, I promise). I love George A. Romero's work in creating the genre in the 60's and the recent resurgence with the Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later. The "funny book" series The Walking Dead I'm enjoying immensely also. I dare say it's a genre I like just as much as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.... yet their zombie homage Shaun of the Dead didn't really do anything for me. Sure, it had it's moments but structurally I thought the film was horrible. The last 30 minutes was such a painful experience as the movie was crumbling before my eyes and quickly falling flat on it's face. Each time I try and watch it, the third act kills the experience for me, so my reaction to the film is always negative. So when Hot Fuzz comes along and it's a clear homage/parody/celebration of buddy cop movies, I'm a little apprehensive. It's not a genre I have ever been all that interested in. Yes I love Lethal Weapon just as much as the next guy... but that is just about it. I can't think of any others I really enjoy. Hell, I haven't ever seen Point Break or Bad Boys II that this film constantly refers too. Strangely though, I loved this movie way more than their last one. The movie starts and straight away Simon Pegg completely shrugs off his Shaun of the Dead persona and transforms himself into Sergeant Nicholas Angel... a hard edged cop who takes his job way too seriously and never takes a break. He loves being a city cop, and indeed he is good at it. His relationship with his girlfriend (try and spot which Oscar winning actress is playing her) has clearly been secondary to his love for the force.... sorry I mean service (Nick reminds us that "service" is the politically correct terminology). The problem is, he is too good for the police "service" he is working for. A hilarious set of cameo's from Bill Nighy, Steve Coogan and Martin Freeman as different ranking police officers let Nick know that he is making them look bad with his superior percentage of arrests. Against his wishes they farm Nick off to the small countryside town of Sandford, where the crime rate is extremely low and "there hasn't been a murder in twenty years". Until now. A masked killer who wouldn't look out of place in Midsummer Murders is committing mass homicide, with the main portion of the film being Nick and his new found friend/partner Danny Butterman's (Nick Frost) attempts to solve the mystery of who is committing these crimes. Danny is, in truth, a rubbish cop who only has his job because his dad is the Chief Sergeant. He's a kind and lovable character but he is no real policeman and his social life revolves around getting wasted at the pub and coming home to watch one of his vast collection of dvd's....which we can only presume are b-movie action cop thrillers....because that's all he talks about. Hot Fuzz is at times brutal, nasty, profound and extremely violent. Characters are picked off left and right, usually in horrific ways. You remember the death scenes in The Omen? Well they are like that, but imagine the shock of seeing them when watching a movie as rich with comedy as Hot Fuzz. They really don't pull back with the language or gore and at times it's a good old fashioned 70's horror movie. For me, this is better than Shaun of the Dead in every single way. It's a much tighter, funnier flick and has so many interesting and well rounded characters that are matched together with terrific action set pieces. The sequence at the church fare and some scenes in the final act are superbly handled, and are way better than many scenes I have seen from the genre this film is supposedly parodying. I say parodying but I think I would be mistaken in using that phrase. Austin Powers is clearly parodying James Bond and although it is celebrating it at the same time.... it's clearly defined as a piss take. Yes, Hot Fuzz knows the genre it's in and it's constantly winking at the audience, but it's tone is somewhat serious, much like Scream. The characters all know their role in the conventions of the genre but never explicity say what they would be doing like in Austin Powers. They aren't "taking over the world" or saying stuff like "let's use a nuke like we always do". Instead they are so clearly defined and accurately performed that we care for these characters. It helps also that the actors that play them are a film geek's dream. We have small roles for The Wicker Man original Edward Woodward, the great Paul Freeman, the talented and under-rated former Bond Timothy Dalton who looks like he is having the time of his life as the sleazy supermarket owner Simon Skinner and a great performance from character actor Jim Broadbent as the head of police and Danny's father. They do such a good job with their small screen time that a real sense of a community is quickly established and the claustrophobic feeling that you got with The Wicker Man is definitely present. Anyone can die, at any given moment. Hot Fuzz is proof that Edgar Wright is one of the most promising directors working today and along with Pegg and Frost, his knowledge of different movie genre's is superb. To do what this team has done for both horror and buddy cop movies is incredible and I really hope we get to see them make a third movie to cap off this unofficial trilogy.
rating:4Loved it. This is such a fun movie and an experience I can guarantee you will absolutely adore. If you loved Shaun of the Dead or buddy cop movies with tons of guns and homoerotic tension or great 70's horror like The Wicker Man or The Omen then you WILL LOVE THIS! If your in the U.K. GO SEE IT NOW! For the States, you will have to wait until 13th April.