From the makers of Shaun of the Dead comes their explosive action followup – Hot Fuzz!
It’s been released everywhere this month to huge acclaim, and if you believe the magazine reviewers, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright can do no wrong. As I loved their late 90sTV series, Spaced, I have to agree that their track record has been consistently, er, consisting of similar things. When I first saw Shaun of the Dead there was every pleasure in watching the same team (minus much Jessica Stevenson) reminding us of all the bits of Spaced that worked so well, while adding a zombie holocaust as sugar on top. In Hot Fuzz, that sugar coating is appearing increasingly sloppy.
The story opens with a montage of Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) being The Best Policeman in England. Pegg’s also at his best being the stern, non-nonsense super-cop, who abides strictly by the letter of the law. Because he makes his superiors look increasingly bad, he’s reassigned to a sleepy village in the English countryside. While at first the biggest dangers are high cholestoral – the local police are uncommonly fond of cake and ice cream – he starts to uncover a much darker threat that is increasingly linked to the sinister Somerfield manager (Timothy Dalton).
The story is stronger than Shaun of the Dead, which I felt fell apart during its finalé. Instead it moves fast and sharp, even for over 2 hours. The biggest distraction is from the many many guest stars. Timothy Dalton has a stand-out role. As well as him, there are even more famous names sporting countryfied acents, including actors from the British comedy set. The attraction of spotting who’s who, and the novelty of seeing small screen actors in a movie like this, adds to the unreality of its story. This may just apply to anyone who enjoys spotting random classic actors from sometimes quite obscure roles. Like me. This makes it funnier, and they all give it their best shot. It adds another layer of laughs that a good percentage of the audience will get of cheer on. It’s also possible that it offers nothing at all, except to showcase people that younger parts of the audience will then recognise later.
Now, Hot Fuzz is still definitely a comedy, and it knows exactly what it’s doing – parodying the conventions of Michael Bay films and expectations of our British police force. It manages this extremely well. It’s also not afraid to be very very gruesome, and seems to go even further than Shaun of the Dead did when it comes to dispatching certain cast members.
The team have established a real formula for their comedies.