This film is a god damn masterpiece.
Yep. That’s pretty much my entire retrospective.
Seriously. I’m not kidding.
Oh, alright. If you insist.
Making the police force in London look incompetent with his high conviction rate, Police Constable Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is transferred to the sleepy village of Sandford, Gloucestershire.
At first Nicholas is bored out of his mind, as the worst crimes he encounters are underage drinking and ugly statues; but a rash of deaths in the area cause him to feel that something nefarious is underfoot.
However the local police force, led by Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent), believe that said deaths are mere accidents. But with a little digging; and with fellow police officer Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), Nicholas soon finds the beginnings of a conspiracy that might blow his world wide open.
Mild Spoilers Follow
The second in Edgar Wright’s unofficial “Cornetto Trilogy”, it’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since this was released. And yet, because of the perfect combination of scripting, acting and direction, this film still holds up.
Fresh off their 2004 success of Shaun of the Dead, both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite in roles that challenge the idea that this might have merely been a repetition. Rather than the slack-jawed yokel duo of the previous film, Pegg and Frost instead divide themselves into vastly different roles.
Pegg gets the chance to shine as a no nonsense lead, perfectly playing off Frost’s more innocent and eager to please Danny. Together their comedic timing is supported by a who’s who of British talent. And as the moustache twirling villain, Timothy Dalton alone is worth the price of admission!
In addition to the brilliant cast, part of the reason I believe that director Edgar Wright elevates this film above other parodies is that, like Mel Brooks before him, he understands the best way to parody something is to come from a place of love rather than pure mockery.
And man does he deliver! It’s hard to believe that Hot Fuzz was only Wright’s third film, but the way he squeezes every drop of comedy in even the most simplest scenes (if there is such a thing!), makes it feel like he’s been directing for decades.
I’m far too inarticulate to explain why even the transition scenes are comedy gold, but Tony Zhou from the Youtube channel, Every Frame a Painting, has put it all into a concise video.
Honestly the only real flaw I can think of is that maybe Sanford’s police team up with Nicholas and Danny just a tad too easily. Especially when you take into account how disbelieving they’ve been for the entire movie. But who cares when it leads directly into the most balls out third act I’ve seen this side of the millennium?
You would think it would be impossible to distil every cliche, trope, stereotype, buzzword and formula of action cinema into one 30 minute sequence. But then you see that Hot Fuzz didn’t just do it, but did it with aplomb.
In fact my favourite scene is…
Did you see that?!? Seven cuts and a zoom in! All before the shell hits the floor! Michael Bay eat your heart out!
But my number one reason for loving this film is because, in a cinematic landscape filled with half baked stories, Hot Fuzz has one of the tightest, best structured screenplays I have ever seen/read. Great characters, hilarious jokes, sumptuous dialogue and an engaging story arc. I mean, do you know how hard it is to write a screenplay?
Maybe you do.
But do you know how hard it is to write a mystery screenplay?
Maybe you do.
But do you know how hard it is to write a mystery screenplay filled with clues that lead logically to two completely separate conspiracies while imbuing the story with witty comedy and sizzling action?
Like fuck you do.