Hot Fuzz

Stars:  ★★★★

Summary:  An extremely funny, intense, and cathartic buddy cop opus.

Review:  This is director Edgar Wright’s second pulse-pounding (what the hell does that mean?) entry in the ‘Blood & Ice Cream Trilogy’, which started with ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and concludes with the upcoming ‘The World’s End’.  It is certainly as excellent as ‘Shaun’ and shows definite improvement in Wright’s directorial abilities.  It’s often said that the best test of a director is to see if they can pull off an effective action sequence.  He got to play with action in his hit British series ‘Spaced’, but here he’s given free reign to let his imagination run wild.  The results are even better than most Hollywood pictures.

‘Hot Fuzz’ is in some sense a genre mashup like ‘Shaun of the Dead’.  The buddy cop template, typically set in the big city, meets with horror/mystery set in the English countryside.  Just like ‘Shaun’, both genre requirements are fulfilled.  Not only does it feel organic, it reinforces the major themes and makes the story more satisfying.  Why ‘Hot Fuzz’, a genuinely funny cop movie, is much better than this year’s ‘The Other Guys’, another genuinely funny cop movie, is that ‘The Other Guys’ has almost entirely random humor and a story without real power.  ‘The Other Guys’ may be good for a laugh, but ‘Hot Fuzz’ is actually a good story.

What is ‘Hot Fuzz’ really about?  The power of fantasy.  Nick Frost’s character, a wide-eyed, small town constable, obsesses over action films like ‘Lethal Weapon’, ‘Die Hard’, ‘Point Break’ and ‘Bad Boys II’.  For most of the film, Simon Pegg’s character, a supercop from London, insists on the real world responsibilities (like paperwork and taking notes) of real police officers.  Every one of Frost’s Hollywood-fueled fantasies comes in handy, though, when the narrative shifts into high gear.  By shooting for a ridiculous ideal, the duo is prepared for ridiculous problems.

The horror/mystery element brings in some seriously disturbing stuff.  Townsfolk are dispatched by beheading, explosions, being crushed, being stabbed by garden shears, and much more off screen.  The filmmakers work overtime to make the bad guys seriously intimidating.  Of course, this is all in the service of the extremely cathartic final battle sequence, but ye be warned!

‘Hot Fuzz’ is a legitimately effective buddy cop movie that rises well above the level of parody.  Thanks to Wright & Co, it turns out to be a great action movie, period.

Buy It From Amazon: Hot Fuzz (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]

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