Hot Fuzz is a powder-keg hell-raiser in the spirit of early Sam Raimi or Peter Jackson, but it’s also just as good at the dry and droll as the rock ‘n’ roll.
After a successful, if a tad serious-minded, tweak of zombie-flick cliches in Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost show some unabashed love for overblown cop action.
This knows there’s no shame in enjoying movies like Bad Boys II and Lethal Weapon. Avoiding the ease of full-blown spoofing, they instead mixing a light lampoon with Monty Python’s wicked wit and camera rigging worthy of Michael Bay.
Pegg (who also co-wrote with director Wright) stars as Nicholas Angel, a do-good London super cop with a 400% higher arrest rate than any of his peers. This well-trained teetotaler seems destined for interdepartmental greatness. He’s actually making everyone look bad.
Nicholas is sent packing with a sergeant designation to sleepy Sandford, where underage drinking, speeding and loitering are major crimes. The police department’s riot-gear room is rat-infested, its evidence room is barren and statistically, it’s the safest village in the United Kingdom.
When gory deaths by decapitation, explosion and a church spire falling on someone’s head are ruled accidental, Nicholas’s obsessive thirst for procedural investigation kicks in. His rotund partner, Danny Butterman (Frost), has his own obsession — explosion-riddled cop films and the thrilling prospect of one day “firing two guns whilst jumping through the air.” Both will get their wish when a line of evidence turns quiet Sandford into a John Woo movie just waiting to begin.
All of the winking fist-bumps work. The touchy-feely male bonding between Nick and Danny is authentic and comic. Not a door is opened without a whoosh on the soundtrack and a hand whizzing into frame. David Arnold’s score even has quasi-flamenco acoustic guitar for pensive heroic moments. And, in an amusing turn, Timothy Dalton himself plays as much of a Bond villain that Sandford could have — an oily supermarket owner who is his own employee of the month.
Meanwhile, Hot Fuzz maintains rumbling rhythms of a real-deal action flick. Once Nicholas and Danny bump up against elderly vigilantes with civic-pride psychosis, the movie takes a shotgunned-beer approach to getting drunk off its own bloat. Rightfully so, the hand-cannon finale of sublime satirical chaos is louder than most of the movies from which it’s so lovingly stolen.
Any movie that so tightly and sincerely endears itself to a modern-machismo classic like Point Break can’t be bad. Riotously funny and righteously explosive on its own terms, Hot Fuzz is the sharpest, cheekiest, most rollicking action-comedy since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.