Like many people, I enjoyed “Shaun of the Dead” and the parody of the zombie subgenre it provided. I didn’t think it was the funniest flick in the world, but it was very fun and quite charming. I feel almost exactly the same towards Simon Pegg’s latest offering, “Hot Fuzz”, a parody of the action-cop genre. So if you enjoyed “Shaun of the Dead”, there’s really nothing to keep you from liking “Hot Fuzz”. And pretty much the same can be said if you didn’t like “Shaun of the Dead”, as you probably won’t find this flick very funny.
Sgt. Nicolas Angel (Pegg) of the London Metropolitan Police is the best at what he does. In fact, he’s so good that he made the rest of the cops in London look bad. To remedy this, the London PD transfers Angel to the sleepy rural village of Sanford. Once he gets settled in, Angel begins trying to clean up the mean streets of Sanford, only to find that they really aren’t that mean. Along the way, Angel is joined by local Sanford cop Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) who has virtually every clichéd action film ever made committed to memory. Shortly after arriving, Angel discovers that Sanford has a massive fatal accident rate, which is especially suspicious considering most of these “accidents” don’t look like accidents at all. Angel and Danny get on the case, gradually uncovering a murderous conspiracy.
I thought “Hot Fuzz” was pretty funny, but not in a “laugh out loud” sort of way. It was very clever, well written with lots of subtle gags and charming character chemistry…but none of the jokes had me doubled over in stitches. I felt the same way about “Shaun of the Dead”; it was funny, but not that funny. Still, there’s more than just comedy to this movie.
The interaction between Pegg and Frost is terrific and they really send off a modern day sort of “Abbot & Costello” vibe. The character relations with the rest of the cast are fun, too, particularly Angel and Danny’s unpleasant rivalry with the two Detective Andies. Not every member of the cast shines, though. Olivia Colman pretty much disappears into the background, delivering less memorable scenes than either the dog or the swan.
Like “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz” doesn’t rely entirely on being a parody to draw its entertainment value. The script and story are strong enough that even if it weren’t a parody it would fit fine in the genre. The ending is a blast, as Angel finally decides to go all-out on the action movie clichés and bust some heads. Definitely cool.
“Hot Fuzz” isn’t a movie *I* would buy on DVD, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. Certainly worth a rental at the very least.