Film Review: Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

I know this is a bold statement, but I�ll just put it out there anyway: Hot Fuzz is the best guy flick of the new millennium.  Hell, it�s quite possibly one of the best guy movies of all time.  I know, I know, in a year alone that�s come out with such macho films as 300 and Grindhouse, this statement might seem incredibly bold, but it�s true all the same.  From the same minds that brought us the now classic Shaun of the Dead comes their ode, no, opus in honor of the buddy-cop-over-the-top-fucking- bloody-action-extravaganza genre.  Is it a horror film?  Not exactly.  But with minds like these and a film like this, that hardly matters.

Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg, sans cricket bat) is London�s top cop.  Expert in pretty much every field ranging from armed response and pursuit to martial arts and chess, he is without a doubt the cream of the crop.  He has an arrest rate 400% higher than any other individual officer, and, well, the other police aren�t entirely fond of it.  He�s making them all look bad, so working as only a bureaucracy can, they promote him into Britain�s #1 crime-free town, the nice little hamlet of Sandford.  He�s a man without purpose in a town whose greatest crime is an escaped swan.  He�s given the single most incompetent partner in town (Nick Frost, sans �I got wood!� t-shirt), an alcoholic action movie aficionado who also happens to be the son of the police chief.  Life is boring in Sandford, and Angel is at the end of his rope.

And that�s when the bodies start piling up.  For a town with such a small population, the body count seems to be, well, a little extreme.  The higher ups in town want to rule them all as accidents, but Angel knows better.  There�s a murderer on the loose who is brutally murdering innocent townfolk, and sometimes the only way to show you�re right is to do it with a lot of guns.  And leaping through the air while firing two guns at the same time.  And drop-kicking an old woman in the face.  All right, am I giving too much away?

For lack of a better word, most every element of Hot Fuzz is perfect.  The dream team of Wright, Pegg and Frost are rapidly proving themselves to be one of the best comedy teams in the business today, yet at the same time they�ve proven their skill to be beyond just one genre.  They can pull off a zombie movie.  They can pull off a romantic comedy.  They can pull off a murder mystery.  They can pull off a bloody as hell over the top action movie.  They can do all this, and still maintain an intelligent and often heartfelt film.  There literally seems to be nothing beyond these guys� skills.  From a writing and directing standpoint, Hot Fuzz is purely top notch.

The film also benefits from some awesome performances.  In stark contrast to his bumbling Shaun, Pegg�s performance as Sgt. Nicholas Angel is amazingly professional.  It�s not a stretch to see him in his element as one of the best commando-style cops England has to offer.  The yin to his yang, bumbling officer Danny Butterman, is played to perfection by Shaun cohort Nick Frost.  For the longest time he appears to be a walking and talking mistake, an accident waiting to happen, the usual comedic foil you�re bound to find in any standard buddy cop film.  However, his earnest and honest performance of a man who knows his limitations (coupled with some of the films best one-liners) proves that he is without a doubt the films emotional core.  The most surprising performance to come out of the film comes from ex-James Bond Timothy Dalton, who plays the local grocery store owner with a particular slimy smarminess and general creepiness about him that you are so certain for the longest time that he is the killer, and once his full involvement is revealed it�s still an awesome revelation.

But what is an action film without a certain level of gratuitousness?  This film goes as over the top as humanly possible while still finding a way to make it work.  See, much like its predecessor Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is a film that acknowledges and embraces the stereotypes and clich�s of the genre, and then takes them in wild new awesome directions.  It�s a movie filled with car chases, gun fights, explosions, drawn out slow motion shots of guys screaming �NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!� while holding a dying friend.  I mean, we�ve seen these things before, we�ve seen them millions of times, but still this is a movie that manages to make them work in brand new ways.

And did I mention this film is gory?  Though they may have switched from zombies (and Don�t) to buddy cop films, Wright and co. still haven�t forgotten their roots.  Hot Fuzz is gory.  Excessively so at points.  And it is awesome.  People are decapitated, shot to shot to shit, stuck in bear traps, lose feet and are impaled brutally through the throat on a pair of hedge clippers.  One of the films standout gore points involves a church and music straight out of The Omen, but this is no lightning rod.  Oh no, it�s something delightfully heavier, blunter and all sorts of gooier.  They know their blood and guts.

So is Hot Fuzz a horror film?  Not quite.  It�s a murder mystery/buddy cop film more than anything else, but I urge anyone and out there who considers themselves a genre fan and a fan of Shaun of the Dead to see this movie.  It defies basic definition as a movie, and is a classic in the making.  I know I tend to gush, and sometimes it�s not always worth it, but this one is.  For lack of any better words, Hot Fuzz is fucking awesome.  See it.  See it soon.  Then see it again and laugh like hell all over again.  It is just that good.

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