Hot Fuzz brings about a pleasant marriage of different movie genres and stockpiles them on top of each other to deliver a movie that is dark and brooding (sometimes scary), fun, preposterous, and in its own eerie way, thought-provoking.
It is about a gung-ho police officer from London, named Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), who gets assigned the sergeant’s position in the small rural town of Sandford, Gloucestershire, for having an arrest rate that’s 400% higher than anyone else’s. He’s making the London Police Service look bad, his Chief Inspector tells him. So okay, he is shuffled along. What this has to say about the police is something this movie’s writers cleverly nudge at and then circumvent.
But all this doesn’t matter. What matters are the people of Sandford, who are perfect at masquerading as hospitable residents when it is abundantly clear that they are hiding more sinister secrets. This feeling Nicholas gets as soon as he steps into Sandford’s local pub, which is chockablock with underaged teens. The bar’s owners seem to think it’s okay; better to have the kids in there illegally than to have them causing trouble on the streets. Interesting logic, if every kid was a delinquent.
There he meets his future partner, Danny (Nick Frost), who has an obsession with old action movies and longs to live out repressed fantasies, the most ambitious of which is to fire his gun in the air while going “Ahhh!”. Danny is the Ying to Nicholas’ Yang, and the two, through some spectacular miracle, forge a strong friendship that sometimes borders on the homoerotic. The finest touch about this partnership is the doorway of new opportunities that Nicholas brings to Sandford for Danny. Danny has never been able to live out his fantasies because his location has never provided an opening.
Danny’s father is Inspector Frank (Jim Broadbent), patriarch of the Sandford Police Force, and the station is operated by a ragtag bunch of merry folk who stand oblivious to the real meanings behind events. You’ve got Tony Fisher (Kevin Eldon), the crowd-pleaser; Doris Thatcher (Olivia Colman), the sexually-driven constable; Bob Walker (Karl Johnson), the elderly bloke who mumbles and groans and requires years to understand; and a couple of detectives (Paddy Considine and Rafe Spall) who share the same first name and much of the movie’s comedy. Together they make up the world’s most carefree law enforcers, who take obvious murders as accidents, even when one of the victims enters the morgue with a pair of gardening shears sticking out of her neck.
The murders are where Hot Fuzz gets gruesome and toys around with its MA Rating. All around town members are disappearing. A hooded figure with a scythe, among other tools for torture, is always seen before the murder happens, and then as quickly as it goes down, the figure is gone. Poor souls get stabbed, chopped, hacked, burnt, beheaded, and in one particularly horrifying scene, smashed by a cathedral’s spire. So Hot Fuzz is kind of like a murder mystery, and Nicholas believes he’s got it all figured out, that’s until he stumbles upon a secret meeting at the local church, then the story turns 180˚ and zooms down the other way.
Usually twists can be disappointing, especially if they’ve been predicted by the knowledgeable audience, but Hot Fuzz’s twist is so silly, so simple, and so downright blatant that even if you’ve got it figured out, the ride that follows is enjoyable enough to make you forget what the twist was in the first place.
This movie is director Edgar Wright’s follow-up to the much beloved zombie-comedy Shaun Of The Dead, even though they don’t share any thematic or narrative similarities. You can tell they belong to the same universe though; they’re edited the same way, and the humour penned by Wright and co-writer Pegg is of the same blood. But more so than Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz amalgamates elements of comedy, satire, action, suspense and horror, and pulls it off cleanly.
Without disclosing specific details of the twist, I’d like to point out that Sandford’s deepest darkest secrets reminded me very strongly of life in Singapore, where I spent my first 22 years. If you’re wondering, while watching Hot Fuzz, if any society or government can commit the kind of atrocities present before you, I am informing you that Singapore would be the first country to do so. Someone needs to excavate and search underground.
Best Moment | The Andys have some particularly funny moments. Watch their expressions and reactions to everything Nicholas says.
Worst Moment | Nope.