For those who appreciated some gore alongside laughter in a movie, and were sick of seeing the slashers of the 1980s being constantly regurgitated for box office dollars, 2004's Shaun of the Dead was a refreshing cinematic experience. It wasn't perfect -- logic would randomly suspend itself and re-start again at the whim of plot, but the characters were fun to watch and listen to so it was difficult to hold these minor foibles against the film.
The filmmakers have returned, and corrected many of their mistakes. Hot Fuzz is not only hilariously funny, but every intelligent detail makes sense this time around, and the action is that much more engaging for what takes place because of it. Article continues below
stars as Nicholas Angel, a police officer (not a policeman, according to the current manual, for gender sensitivity) who gets sent from the wilds of London to the country by his superior (a humorous cameo by Bill Nighy
) for being too good at his job. He sticks out in the crowd immediately, not just because everyone knows each other's business in small country life, but for his extreme attachment to personal orderliness, attention to the letter of the law, and strict consumption of cranberry juice.
As his assigned partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost
) starts to slowly assist Angel in turning his brain off now and then, people in the community begin dying. Each one is somehow considered an "accident" no matter how graphically mutilated the remains appear. Every time Angel makes a clear, intelligent case as to why further investigation should occur, new boss Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent
) assures him that he simply hasn't gotten used to the calmer environment yet and that he's allowing his city cynicism to damage his happy life. "Murder" simply doesn't happen in the magazine-dubbed "model village," none have been reported in over 20 years. He just needs to learn how to relax, check on why one local is currently cutting shrubs that aren't his, for instance.
But after personally witnessing a black-caped figure put scissors through someone's neck, Angel can no longer stop himself from exploring the mystery beyond the mundane calls of duty he's asked to follow through with. The rest of the discoveries and resolutions, are relayed with a truly clever wit that more than balances for when the pace is drawn out to explain minor subplots.
Pegg, once again, makes a delightful center to the film. Though his popularity grew with the everyday, unremarkably reluctant hero of Shaun, what's impressive is that neither he, nor co-writer/director Edgar Wright
, lazily relies on that familiarity in Fuzz. You can tell these films were made by the same people, but the plots and focuses are entirely new and distinct, and Fuzz is particularly well-executed in comparison. Pegg's character this time around is extremely serious, a total straight man in an amusingly off-kilter environment struggling to appear normal. The fact that much of the humor is derived from the absolutely understandable logic of his actions makes Fuzz an enjoyable two-hour investment.
Equal parts action, buddy movie, and police spoof, Hot Fuzz fights to stretch genre lines and manages to worship through homage while creating a new story that's truly entertaining.