****1/2 (out of 5)
April 20, 2007
Simon Pegg as NICHOLAS ANGEL
Nick Frost as DANNY BUTTERMAN
Jim Broadbent as FRANK BUTTERMAN
Timothy Dalton as SIMON SKINNER
Studio: Rogue Pictures
Directed by: Edgar Wright
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I have been looking forward to “Hot Fuzz” for months. The anticipation was enough to make me want to move to the UK in order to catch the film in theaters before it made its way over the Atlantic for us.
The wait is finally over, and I couldn’t be more happy. With so many films coming out that just don’t live up to my expectations, it was a joy to watch “Hot Fuzz,” which turned out to be exactly what I wanted.
I gained respect for Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost back in 2004 when they released their hilarious zom com “Shaun of the Dead.” Having been a horror fan for years, I loved their tongue-in-cheek take on the classic zombie film. The reason it was so perfect was that they set out to both skewer the genre and pay homage to it at the same time.
Now, Wright and company take on the buddy cop film. “Hot Fuzz” tells the story of Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), a London cop who is so good at his job that he’s making everyone else on the force look bad. They “promote” him to a position in the quaint town of Sanford.
This county paradise has one of the lowest crime rates in England, but Angel soon learns that there is a darker force at work in town. Together with bumbling office Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), Angel works tirelessly to solve a string of bizarre murders that are written off as accidents.
“Hot Fuzz” does for buddy cop flicks what “Shaun of the Dead” did for zombie films. It’s a brilliant satire for the genre, but it’s also made with a lot of love. Taken on the surface, “Hot Fuzz” actually works as an action piece. It has all the necessary elements and plot points – enough to make it as quintessential of an action flick as “Point Break” or “Bad Boys II.”
At the same time, “Hot Fuzz” delivers scathing satire to the entire range of action films. From Nick Frost expressing his burning desire to “fire two guns whilst jumping through the air” to Simon Pegg expressing concern about all the paperwork a real-life action sequence would incur, this movie lets us laugh at the genre while enjoying it as a fun popcorn movie.
I may not think Michael Bay and Kathryn Bigelow are cinematic geniuses, but the makers of “Hot Fuzz” seem to. They take nods at all the quirks of an action film without falling into cliche or silliness. The film takes itself with a grain of salt, enough to keep things light, but serious enough to make it work on several levels.
In addition to the brilliant Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the supporting cast is great. Timothy Dalton as the lead villain is a hoot. He may have been a lousy James Bond, but Dalton almost steals the show in this film. Additional support cast includes Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine and Rafe Spall.
In the hype leading up to the U.S. release of “Hot Fuzz,” I saw the trailer several times. It was hilarious, but so were the trailers for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and Adam Sandler’s stinker “Anger Management.” We all know that a great trailer does not necessarily lead to a good film.
As the jokes from the trailer started to reveal themselves in “Hot Fuzz,” I was a bit nervous that the film would become mundane. However, the funniest parts are not in the trailer at all, and by the time you’ve reached the half-way point, there are plenty of surprises and fun to enjoy. And, with an overused storyline that goes back to the days of “Scooby Doo,” Wright and company manage to put an entirely unique, clever and hilarious spin on the mystery.