Since first watching Shaun of the Dead and enjoying it thoroughly, the biggest question left in my mind after that film’s release was whether it was just incredible luck or if this kind of enjoyable filmmaking was a sign of things to come. After watching Hot Fuzz, I’m happy to say that the latter is certainly true.
Hot Fuzz is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. If this group of names sounds familiar together, they should. These are the same folks who brought us Shaun of the Dead. Where SOTD was a comedy homage to the George Romero zombie films, this film is certainly an homage to the police/cop films that have come out since the mid-late 70’s right up through the mid 90s.
Pegg’s role is that of Sergeant Nicholas Angel — an up and coming rookie in the London police academy who gets shipped off to a seemingly quiet and quaint town (where he can’t show up his London counterparts). To give any further details of the story would be…uh…. ‘criminal’ ….(sorry for that….when you watch films by Brits, it’s just infectious…. you start wanting to use puns and the like. Would love to visit someday.) Anyhow, it’s the details of the story that make this movie lots of fun. Normally comedies don’t really hold my attention, but the great thing about the team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg (both of who wrote the film) is that they make movies for people who love movies. You’ll see a ton of homages to different films — some obvious and a few that are a bit obscure.
There’s some great comedy here. Pegg and Frost are sure to be compared to the likes of Laurel and Hardy or more recently Jay and Silent Bob. But the great thing about three of these teams is that none is like the other or even trying to copy the other. Each team has their own hooks and their own chemistry that make them unique. For Pegg and Frost, it’s sort of like the brains and braun in one guy and the dumb lovable guy who admires and tags along.
If there was one small criticism it’s that the film gets a little crazy in parts. But honestly, this is what makes the experience fun. It’s got about as much action as I’ve seen in a film of it’s type. Lots of car chases and cool cop moves. Not enough can be said about Simon Pegg — he’s coming into his own as a really good actor. (At least when it comes to this genre). His timing is great. He’s showing a bit of range, as in Shaun he was a hero, but more of an unlikely and clumsy hero. Here, he’s the new recruit fresh out of the academy with an incorruptible desire to uphold the law. As cheesy as it sounds, it just works. And it works in a large part because he makes it work. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a few other faces from the past, as Martin Freeman and Stephen Merchant (from the real The Office series) and Timothy Dalton make appearances.
Succinctly put, Hot Fuzz is a lot of fun. If you dug Shaun of the Dead, then undoubtedly you’ll love this one. (And if you haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead, well, what the hell are you waiting for??!!) Certainly this type of humor is meant to be enjoyed by a certain type of audience. If you grew up on Schwarzenegger films in the 80s and dig watching a “cop film” every now and again, you’ll be loving it. If you sit up a bit too straight in your seat at the theater and find yourself wondering what everyone’s laughing at during the silly bits, then perhaps you should sit this one out. It’s a crime if you can’t enjoy the comedy that a film like this presents. Here’s hoping that future releases from this team will be as enjoyable. Good stuff.