DVD Release Date:  July 31, 2007
Theatrical Release Date:  April 20, 2007
Rating:  R (for violent content including some graphic images and language)
Genre:  Comedy
Run Time:  2 hrs. 1 min.
Director:  Edgar Wright
Actors:  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent

Sometimes it takes an outsider to show us what we’re really like.  In the case of Hot Fuzz, that outsider is the English.  The “us” is Hollywood.  Specifically, the buddy-cop movie.

Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the model cop—err, “police officer,” to be exact, since that’s what Angel prefers to be called.  Based in London, Angel isn’t the friendliest of chaps, but he’s won countless awards, has been severely wounded on the job (several times) and his arrest record leads the city.  Unfortunately, that’s precisely why his superiors want him out.  Angel is making them all look bad.  And who wants to work that hard when there are crumpets to be eaten?  Blimey!

Transferred to a small town in the countryside, Angel immediately begins chasing swans, arresting underage drinkers and public urinaters.  Unfortunately, the latter happens to be one Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a cop—err, police officer—and son of the amiable police chief (Jim Broadbent) as well.  Oh, dear.  Good thing the chief has his own way of making people “pay” for their crimes.  In Danny’s case, that would be chocolate gateau (or “Black Forest gateau,” as they say) for everyone in the precinct.  Jolly good!

Unlike Angel’s new colleagues, the oafish Danny is fascinated by his partner’s police skills.  As they patrol the bucolic streets of Sandford, Danny continually pumps Angel for vital information, such as “Is there a special place in the head you have to hit to make it explode?”  It’s all culled from the endless cop movies Danny watches, like Bad Boys II and Point Break.  Fortunately, for Danny and for Angel, all the action isn’t onscreen.  In fact, Sandford isn’t nearly as bucolic as it seems.  But never fear, because Sergeant Angel is here.  And this officer intends to find the vicious murderer who is killing everyone off—with or without the help of the Neighborhood Watch Association.

Written, directed and acted by the same team that gave us the hilarious zombie spoof, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is sure to please fans of parody as well as horror and cop movies.  Although not hilarious in the American way (usually slapstick), it’s definitely amusing in that understated, tongue-in-cheek fashion that the British have perfected.  Think Monty Python meets Bad Boys II meets Halloween IV, and you’ll get the idea. 

Sure, there’s a lot of blood and gore, with the killer hiding under a black cloak before hacking his victims to death.  He beheads two, leaving them in the middle of the road, and burns another, which gives us a gruesome view of a charred body.  Another falls prey to a church spire, which leads to a positively gruesome demise.  But remember, folks: it’s a parody.  So far from gratuitous violence, this stuff is actually being used to show us just how gratuitous violence usually is in cop films.  It’s a point that is very well made.

The film’s only downside is its mock occult ending—or what you will think is the ending, but which is really only cranking things up for yet another lengthy round.  It’s a bit over the top, even for a parody.  And because the film is too long anyway, it could have easily been hacked, much like one of the victims—yet missed even less.

There’s not a bad actor in the film, which is an absolute rarity.  Pegg is brilliant as the uptight Angel, and his transformation—however slight—makes us like him all the more.  You can’t help feeling sorry for the guy, even as you admire him.  And even though Danny is a real doofus, he’s a delightful one in Frost’s skillful hands.  Broadbent, as always, is flawless.  You’ll also enjoy seeing Timothy Dalton hiding behind a (twitching) mustache, as well as a full ensemble of talented actors that are sure to keep you grinning.

If you can’t take gore of any kind, even as a joke, definitely bypass this one.  If British subtlety is not your cup of tea, you probably won’t get where they’re going, either.  But if you’ve ever rolled your eyes at cop movie antics—and if you enjoy wry humor—you’ll love this cinematic poke in the ribs.  Look a little deeper and you’ll also appreciate the filmmakers’ cynical yet realistic take on organizational and societal apathy, which will resonate with anyone who has have ever tried to buck the herd.

Hot Fuzz is not for kids, but it’s very good, and it’s all in good fun.  ‘Better watch out, Hollywood.  The British are coming.
 
AUDIENCE:  Adults only

DVD EXTRAS:

  • Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Commentary
  • Outtakes
  • “Fuzzometer” featurette
  • “The Fuzzball Rally:” Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright on their U.S. press tour
  • Miscellaneous short

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Drinking throughout film (usually beer), including underage drinking by at least a dozen teenagers, who are tolerated by the pub owners but rebuked and arrested by a police officer.  Several people smoke in background.
  • Language/Profanity:  Strong.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Mild to average.  A few indirect sexual innuendos; a couple committing adultery is gossiped about then begins to kiss onscreen.
  • Violence:  Occult images of cloaked slasher/grim reaper style murderer who kills numerous victims by slashing/decapitation; shot of decapitated heads on road; shot of badly burned corpse; shot of man who is brutally decapitated on-screen.