Director: Edgar Wright
Release Date: February 2007
Cast: Simon Pegg – Sergeant Nicholas Angel, Nick Frost – PC Danny Butterman, Jim Broadbent – Inspector Frank Butterman, Bill Nighy – Metropolitan Chief Inspector Kenneth, Timothy Dalton – Simon Skinner
Intro: Recently voted as UK movie fans favourite comedy film of all time (Odeon poll 2009) I thought I’d revisit this movie myself and put up a quick review! I’ve always preferred this one to Shaun, but I did see Hot Fuzz first. Strangely, a lot of people I asked about both of these films tend to prefer whichever of the two they saw first. Anyway, enough rambling from me on with the review!
Plot: Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the finest police officer London has to offer, with an arrest record higher than any other on the force. However, his superiors have decided that he is making them look bad and so they send him to the seemingly sleepy town of Sandford miles out in the country. It would seem that Sandford is not only winner of ‘village of the year’ several years in a row but also crime free. Once there, Angel is partnered with overeager PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) whose police training consists of watching too many cop movies and going to the pub. PC Danny Butterman is also the son of amiable Police Chief Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). Angel’s new assignment sees him growing more and more frustrated and is made even worse when, after a series of grisly ‘accidents’, the villagers and the police seemingly turn a blind eye to the possibility of foul play. Angel is convinced that Sandford is not what it seems and is convinced there is more sinister and darker going on.
Review: Through a montage of chase scenes and action set pieces in London we are introduced to PC Nicholas Angel, presented as one of the greatest officers the Metropolitan police have ever had. However, fearful of Angel upstaging every other policeman in London he is packed off to the sleepy village of Sandford, and he is none to happy about the new assignment.
From the word go the film is packed full of references and draws on this source material brilliantly throughout. It is presented from a very British perspective, in a village where everybody knows each other, but also combines story elements from films such Bad Boys II and Point Break, and puts this kind of explosive Hollywood action into the quaint ‘local’ village of Sandford. This works surprisingly well, and includes some excellent action set pieces with gunfights at the local Somerfield and local pub. The second half is the more action packed of the movie, with car chases through country lanes, a swan chase… and even an action packed fight scene in the towns own model village. This all produces (with a tongue in cheek feel) some funny scenes and great stunt work, including the odd one liner thrown in for good measure.
There are some inventively gory scenes, making this not the usual light hearted British comedy most are used to (as well as making everyone a bit more careful around churches and model villages). There are some great performances from everyone in the cast. Pegg and Frost make an awesome comedy duo. As well as the ‘moustache twiddling’ Simon Skinner played by Timothy Dalton and the supposedly kindly old amiable Chief Inspector Frank Butterman, played by Jim Broadbent.
Conclusion: Hot Fuzz is a homage to all buddy cop action movies in the years gone by. Hot Fuzz, like Shaun of the Dead draws from all the material that makes this kind of movie work. Shaun of the Dead was not only a spoof of all zombie movies, great and small, but it was also a thank you with a ‘tip of the cap’ gesture to all those movies too. Hot Fuzz does the same thing and it does it superbly. Pegg is brilliant as is Frost as his bumbling sidekick Danny Butterman. Overall an enjoyable, action packed comedy. Let’s hope this kind of writing, enthusiasm and feeling of personal input into a film continues. Now, does anyone fancy a cornetto?