Have you ever wondered just what you would get if you mixed “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly,” “Lethal Weapon“, and “Shanghai Noon?” Well, actually, me neither. But that’s what happened anyway and it’s called “Hot Fuzz.” From the creators of “Shaun of the Dead,” Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, it might be the most hilarious movie I have seen in quite some time.
It is the unbelievable- of course, designedly so- story of a London cop, a hard-case named Nicholas Angel, who is just too good at what he does. Due to his overwhelming ability, Angel’s embarrassed and overshadowed superiors condemn him to a small, rural countryside town, Sandford: winner of the village of the year three times.
Upon his arrival Angel finds that nothing much is going on in Sandford except for the occasional crime by graffiti and the local pub’s odd affinity for selling alcohol to minors. But soon people start dying and the townspeople lazily pass each death off as accidental. A suspicious Angel, however, is not satisfied and so he sets out to prove that each death was linked and were planned homicides. Along with his pal Danny, the local police chief’s son (a goofy, action starved, goose calling, wanna-be of a police man) he drives, runs, yells, dives, shoots, and bleeds his way through almost two hours of riotous fun.
Sound like most cop movies you’ve seen? Well that’s the point. Hot Fuzz is a satirical parody of buddy cop movies. It both pays homage to a genre the film makers obviously love and yet also mercilessly pokes fun. It is not meant to be taken seriously. In fact, that is what makes this movie work: it doesn’t take itself seriously.
Starring Pegg himself, and featuring British stars like Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), Martin Freeman (The U.K. version of The Office), Cate Blanchett (The Lord of the Rings, Babel), Timothy Dalton (once James Bond), Jim Broadbent (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrboe), Paddy Considine (Cinderellla Man), and Steve Coogan (Marie Antoinette) Fuzz is a who’s-who of British talent. And each actor does a fantastic job. The movie is funny because the jokes are funny, but the movie is hilarious because the jokes are well timed and well delivered. It’s a talent the British have. In our fixation with gratuitous Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Vince Vaughn, slap stick humor American film has long forgotten the art of a well delivered, well timed joke. Furthermore, and thankfully, the jokes are not repeated every ten minutes like every movie in which Ferrell has been privileged to star. Essentially, Hot Fuzz is humorous without being garrulous.
That does not mean, be warned, that “Fuzz” remains either sterile or controlled. It is over the top, it is ridiculous, it is rather insane and it is violent; while mostly unrealistic, the violence certainly is not censored. Do not take your 9 year old to this movie (though, since most of you reading this are in college, my guess is that is a concern you won’t have for some time).
Wright and Pegg have proven themselves to be one of the best comedic teams in the industry today and one of their strongest points is editing. “Fuzz’’ races and jumps and stops and rolls and all the while seems perfectly in place and perfectly appropriate. In fact, some of the most hilarious bits were pieces of editing. The technical side of the film perfectly compliments the strange personality the actors put forward.
As much fun as “Hot Fuzz” is, it is not without it’s faults. Like most comedy movies it is problematic in some way. It is at times irreverent and may trivialize serious issues like violence, death, and dishonesty, not to mention the disrespectful tone with which it discusses positive themes like friendship, loyalty, and the law. But such is comedy; it is up to each viewer to decide for themselves what is too much, at what point the excess has become excessive. As I said, “Fuzz” is certainly no children’s movie, and is certainly not for the movie-goer who dislikes buddy cop movies (there are numerous references to movies like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, and Point Break). But it is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a while. I guess I like buddy cop movies. For it’s delivery, editing, and imagination I give “Hot Fuzz” two thumbs up.