Director: Edgar Wright
Screenplay: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Rafe Spall, Kevin Eldon, Olivia Colman, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward
Runtime: 121 Minutes
Original UK Release: 2007
From the foundations of Shaun of the Dead, writer/director Edgar Wright chose to tackle another genre while throwing his own unique directorial sensibilities to the forefront. With Hot Fuzz, the conceit is once again a subversion of the expectations of the action genre (specifically Bad Boys II and Point Break), by taking the tropes and clichés of recent Hollywood’s biggest productions and introducing them to the rural English countryside.
A buddy cop movie whereby Pegg’s Sgt Angel is the literal badass of cinematic legend who refuses to do so for the amusement of his bumbling country bumpkin friend, Frost’s PC Butterman. The ‘action’ of the film is hilariously overthrown by the trials of typical police procedure and paperwork filling in quick cut and energetic montages. While the story itself dips in and out of horror in its elaborately ‘real’ mystery, it soon gives way in the third act to the gleeful, base level absurdity of the genre it’s been fighting against.
Wright’s direction is even better than before, stretching not only his rather muscular visual storytelling chops and comedic qualities, but his emulation of action blockbusters becomes something all the more genuine and exciting as it develops – all the while never losing track of its essential comedy. The meeting of heavyweight Hollywood expectation and quaint, comfy Englishness in the screenplay is a riot. Once more the themes of adolescence in the face of maturity are divulged in by Pegg and Frost’s terrific double act.
The work from its expansive ocean of British faces sells its environment and characters completely, small and large faces alike – with Timothy Dalton, in particular, delivering on career-best work as the insidious Skinner, alongside Broadbent, Considine, Spall, Eldon and Colman. Its action comedy refined and purified in a manner few other pictures can claim.