Today in US theaters, the third installment of the Cornetto Trilogy a.k.a the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy a.k.a. the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy opens. I’m of course referring to The World’s End and yes, who knew the works involving writer-director Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park, writer-actor Simon Pegg, and actor Nick Frost was known by so many designations. At any rate, release of the final installment got me itching to watch its predecessor.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a stellar police constable in the London Metropolitan Police Service. Angel is so good, in fact, that he is promoted to sergeant and then quickly reassigned to the rural village of Sandford. Angel finds his hard-nosed interpretation of the law to be at odds with the sleepy little town’s laid-back philosophy. Inspector Butterman (Jim Broadbent) repeatedly chides the tightly-wound Angel to mellow out and stop trying to picture big-city crime in their little burb. Unable to switch off the ever-vigilant police officer in him, Angel struggles to determine if he is indeed making mountains out of mole hills or if the town houses a deadly secret only he sees.
Hot Fuzz is a great homage to the myriad of police and vigilante action films produced by Hollywood over the last few decades. It repeatedly references Bad Boys II and Point Break, even mimicking exact moments frame for frame, but thanks to thorough research of action clichés by writers Wright and Pegg, the story feels reminiscent of countless other classic action films. The story begins slowly, detailing the life of straight-laced hero Angel, which, by the way, Pegg plays to a T. Nick Frost portrays Angels’s new partner, Danny Butterman, as a simple, bumbling action fanatic, albeit one with great timing and on-point comedic delivery. Once the two characters warm up to one another, a trusted relationship develops that is akin to some of the best buddy cop flicks.
As they say, the beauty is in the details, and it is the minor aspects of Angel and Danny that will resonate with action fans and generate a wealth of humorous moments for all audiences. Both the “law breakers” and “villains” of Sandford are boisterous, brazen and hysterically appropriate. Most notable is Timothy Dalton as local market owner, Simon Skinner, whose devilishly worded quips and creepy, ‘stache-sporting grin is just delightfully devious. Fuzz also offers several spanky cameos. Steve Coogan is the most obvious to spot, but if you’re very, very observant you may notice Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson make an appearance.
The story of Angel and Danny shifts from sleepy town shenanigans quickly to culminate in a fevered frenzy of hilarity and carnage. Throughout, the dialogue is quick and witty, though audiences less comfortable with English accents may need a second viewing to catch all the jokes. Heck, most folks will want a second viewing simply because it’s one of those rare films so well-written and well-executed that it warrants multiple viewings.
I expected a silly story with tons of flying bullets, car chases, explosions and the like. Hot Fuzz does not disappoint in the least. Fuzz actually excels in providing gore, violence, and foul language. Its gallons of gushing blood, bruises on top of bruises, and just plain gruesome incidents are enough to make even the strongest stomachs churn a bit.
In all honesty, Hot Fuzz is a film audiences don’t want to hear too many details about because it would ruin a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Silly, witty, graphic, action-packed, and flat-out hilarious are just a few of the words that describe Hot Fuzz. To paraphrase Danny, it’s off the fuckin’ chain!