Hot Fuzz is the second film of the Cornetto trilogy directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Released in 2007, three years after the first film, Shaun of the Dead, and six years before the third and final film, The World’s End, it was a box office hit with $80 million earned against a budget of just $12 million.
I’ve already written about the ideas shared by the three films of the trilogy in my review of Shaun of the Dead, so I won’t repeat myself here and I will simply write about Hot Fuzz. This time, Wright shot in the English countryside a buddy movie like Point Break (1991), 48 Hrs. (1982), and Lethal Weapon (1987). The result is an extremely funny comedy which at the same time works as a buddy movie, paying homage to the genre and becoming a great example of it.
Let me briefly summarize the plot. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a super-efficient London cop. He’s in fact too efficient, so much so that his colleagues send him away with the excuse of a promotion to be a police sergeant in Sandford, a village that regularly wins the title of the best kept village in England. Once there, Nicholas is paired with Danny (Nick Frost), an overweight guy who dreams of imitating the heroes of the movies he loves the most, namely the crime movies I mentioned before. Clearly, in Sandford the opportunities to do so are limited, if not non-existent. At most, Nicholas and Danny find themselves chasing after swans on the run!
But… strange things start to happen, and people die in the village! Nicholas soon understands that there’s something sinister behind these deaths… and here I stop, as I don’t want to spoil the series of unexpected plot twists of the movie. So, why is Hot Fuzz good?
First of all, the direction and editing by Edgar Wright are stellar. Just watch five minutes of the movie and you’ll recognize his touch, which gives the film an absolutely furious rhythm. Then, the chemistry between Pegg and Frost is undeniable: after Spaced (1999-2001) and Shaun of the Dead, the two were not only colleagues, but also friends. And the numerous supporting actors (to name a few, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, and Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman who are back for a short cameo after their participation in Shaun of the Dead) do a great job, which is essential in a movie with so many characters.
The plot unravels in a great way, creating the right aura of mystery first and turning towards action in the final part. Also, the movie is full of quotes and tributes to famous action films which are never out of context and are used with skillfully and in harmony with the story.
And then Hot Fuzz is genuinely funny, which is mandatory for a comedy. The lazy Sandford police department is splendid; Simon Pegg is in formidable shape, even when filling up the paperwork after every police operation (such a great idea!); Nick Frost seems born to play the country policeman… and some scenes are unforgettable. I still laugh when thinking about “What’s the matter, Danny? Never taken a shortcut before?”, for example!
Furthermore, the script is intelligently written, there are punchlines delivered tens of minutes after the start of the joke, the audience must pay attention to what happens on the screen in order to fully enjoy the movie! And with the final showdown, worthy of a serious action movie, Edgar Wright proves to be at ease with virtually any cinematic genre.
In short, this is a great film that I recommend by anyone. I must admit that I consider it a bit worse than Shaun of the Dead for a couple of reasons. The first is that I would take out about ten minutes of the total running time of two hours. In my opinion, the ending goes on for a little too long, even if it’s clearly intended as a parody of the buddy movies to which Hot Fuzz pays homage (for example, the final fistfight between Mel Gibson and Gary Busey at the end of Lethal Weapon is really excessive and unwarranted). The second reason is that the special effects are a little too fake for my tastes, that is too digital and not practical. However, this is certainly due to budget limitations, so there’s little to complain about. Let me say it again, this is a great film that I enjoy rewatching every time I do it. Ciao!
PS: I could bore you with endless anecdotes about this film given the obsessive attention that Wright and Pegg devoted to the script (and given the fact that I watched every single special content of my DVD), but the Trivia section of Internet Movie DataBase is there for you!