Hot Fuzz
directed by Edgar Wright
(Universal, 2007)

Back in 2005, I pledged my love to Shaun of the Dead, a British flick that gave George Romero's horror genre the sensibility of some kind of post-Python apocalypse.

I'm happy to say writer/director Edgar Wright is back, again with Simon Pegg, and this time his sights are set on a target that's even bigger, even more spoof-worthy: The shoot-'em-up cop drama, with slow-mo bullet dodging, car chases and a misunderstood hero.

This time, Pegg is Nicholas Angel, a top London officer sent down to the country because his arrest rate is too successful.

Sandford, Gloucestershire, is the best and loveliest small town in England; all the town's signs to that effect attest to it. And Angel is slowly going mad, sent out to track down missing swans and chasing shoplifters, only to have shopkeepers and townsfolk refuse to press charges.

He lives by the book, a fact that fascinates his partner, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost, another Shaun alumnus), who lives by lessons learned in Point Break and Bad Boys II.

"Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?" Butterman asks his new colleague hopefully. "Have you every fired a gun whilst in a high-speed pursuit?"

Without giving too much of the farce away, suffice it to say that, when Angel finally begins to realize Sandford's inhabitants aren't exceptionally accident-prone but, instead, are being murdered, the action gets even more ludicrous.

As Angel, Pegg seems to have taken a page from the acting book of David Caruso on CSI: Miami: Perfuctory delivery, aviator shades. There's no doubt he knows what he's doing and does it well. And it makes Frost's puppy-dog Butterfield even more bouncy by comparison.

It's all good fun, highlighted by a great soundtrack and David Arnold's original score. The music swells as Angel and Butterfield bond over trying to solve the murders, and Butterfield's winsome delivery of lines meant, in the original script, for Angel's love interest allows Hot Fuzz to send up all those macho buddy movies, too.

Perhaps Pegg, Wright and their crew can tackle the Great American Western next.

review by
Jen Kopf

26 January 2008

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