Hot Fuzz begins with overzealous London cop Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Pegg) being booted out of the city because he’s too good at his job. Angel makes the rest of the force look bad and his superiors believe the only way to deal with the supercop is to send him off to patrol the sleepy little town of Sandford.
The townsfolk of Sandford welcome their newest citizen with open arms (and a great deal of sardonic humor). But the oh-so-clever Angel almost immediately begins to suspect there’s a darker side to the seemingly tranquil burb. Sgt Angel believes Sandford’s rash of accidental deaths is anything but accidental. Along with his new partner, action movie freak PC Danny Butterman (Frost) who also happens to be the son of the town’s top cop (Jim Broadbent), Angel tries to get the rest of the Sandford police force to investigate the strange deaths of some of the town’s prominent citizens. Despite overwhelming proof that Angel’s right – not many people commit suicide by jamming pruning shears into their chests – Angel and Butterman are forced to go it alone because their fellow officers are convinced the ex-London hotshot is just trying to make them all look bad.
In addition to the relentlessly funny work of Pegg and Frost - a comedy team equal to Martin and Lewis at their best - Hot Fuzz contains brilliant turns by supporting cast members Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton, Rafe Spall, Billie Whitelaw and Olivia Colman. Stealing scenes in cameo roles are Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, and Steve Coogan. Even Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett puts in an appearance early on in the film (I won’t blow the surprise by describing her character).
Hot Fuzz is like a big inside joke everyone’s in on. Every single cast member seems to be having a blast and the ensemble’s enthusiasm is contagious, spilling out from the screen and inviting the audience to join in the fun. But that's not to say they're not taking the film seriously. On the contrary, everything is played straight. Even when things get really outrageous, the actors don't break from character to give a wink to the audience.
Co-writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg say they’re not making fun of over-the-top action movies with Hot Fuzz and never intended their film to be a spoof or parody of the genre. But Hot Fuzz does indeed poke a sharp stick at a few of the staples of the action genre including those classic rapid-fire shoot ‘em up sequences in which not a single bullet connects with its target. Frost’s character is obsessed with Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II and the 1991 Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves movie Point Break, and the action in Hot Fuzz is in large part inspired by those two cop dramas. There’s even a hysterical scene with Frost and Pegg flying through the air shooting at the bad guys. Priceless.
Pegg and Wright studied the genre and manage to include in Hot Fuzz scenes that replicate or riff on the most commonly used action sequences from action movies, while also adding their own decidely British take on the typical set-ups. The result is something both fresh and familiar. An impressive and at times ridiculously goofy film, Hot Fuzz proves the Shaun of the Dead team is equally as adept at finding the funny in living characters as they were with the undead.
Hot Fuzz was directed by Edgar Wright and is rated R for violent content including some graphic images, and language.