The creators of Shaun of the Dead do for action what they did for horror in Hot Fuzz, a great satire and ode to the action genre with a dash of The Wicker Man thrown in for good measure.
Simon Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, the top cop from the streets of London who is considered too exceptional by his superiors (Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan & Bill Nighy) and promptly transferred to the small country town of Sansford.
Almost immediately, Angel clashes with the towns laid back attitude to the law, as well as his superior officer Chief Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent) and the N.W.A. (Neighbourhood Watch Alliance). When a number of seemingly accidental deaths irk Angel’s suspicion, he and his newly assigned partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) investigate the death’s which leads them to local supermarket owner Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton). However, a vast conspiracy begins to emerge which will test Angel’s abilities as a police officer.
Hot Fuzz superbly takes the mickey out action and crime films, while also paying homage to the film techniques of Guy Richie and Tony Scott, Michael Bay’s patented melodrama, the theatrics of Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break, and Shane Black’s buddy cop films.
Pegg and Frost are great and compliment each other very well. Pegg in particular seems to be channelling Clint Eastwood as the tightly wound cop obsessed with his job. Timothy Dalton uses his rogue charm to delirious results, and Jim Broadbent is surprisingly effective in his role. T
he cameos by Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, and Bill Nighy are excellent whilst Wright pulls a quick one on all of us by casting Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson in heavily disguised roles (Blanchett plays Pegg’s ex-girlfriend and Jackson a knife wielding Santa Clause.)
Hot Fuzz features the obligatory elements needed to make such a satire work. There is a scene which glosses over a stockpile of weapons; machismo male bonding; rival cops; a colossal henchman; foot and car chases; huge explosions and copious amounts of ammo (even the town priest is packing heat!); and plenty f glorified blood and violence. Driving the film is a Lethal Weapon-esque score, accompanied by a hard rock soundtrack.
However, Hot Fuzz is not some spoof ala National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon. Regardless of its obvious tongue in cheek references to action films of the past, co-writer/director Edgar Wright has crafted an engrossing and entertaining film of its own accord, which even surpasses the majority of the films it sends up.