Hot Fuzz


At their best, action films are lovely things. The film equivalent of corn chips and salsa — a solid base of nicely paced, exciting action, with a scoop of actual character and emotion on every… chip. Hmmm. If I point out that there’s often a bad metaphor in any given action film, can I get away with using one?

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright are clearly huge fans of such movies. Hot Fuzz is a bit similar in terms of content to Team America: World Police,1 but where the South Park boys were quite scornful, there’s only love for the genre in Hot Fuzz. Every beat that your standard action film would hit, this film does too — but never in the way you’d expect.2

Sergeant Nicholas Angel is married to the police service. He’s dedicated, talented and intelligent. As he is the perfect officer, he’s putting the rest of the Metropolitan Police in London to shame — so they ship him off to look after the small town of Sandford instead.3 This irritates him a bit at first, and even more when he has to start coming to terms with the laissez-faire attitudes towards the letter of the law in the country.

And then, of course, there’s the murders. Those cause problems too.

The hilarity in this movie comes from several directions, but not all of them are that conventional. There’s a chance that you’d find this movie dreadfully dull. If you don’t find it funny that a villain would constantly and cheesily insinuate that he’s the murderous psychopath in every scene he’s in, this might not be your cup of tea. If you don’t find ridiculously over-the-top bloody violence funny, this might also cause problems. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, though, it’s probably not worth worrying about. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright seem to delight in dropping the normal and banal into the most overly dramatic and cliched scenarios possible, and they do it so very neatly.

There are one or two rough patches. Once things get into the swing of all-out action, it becomes apparent that while Wright loves the gun-shootin’, he’s not actually that good at filming it. With frequent cuts between ballistic opponents, it becomes unclear exactly what’s going on, and indeed, exactly how people are managing to avoid getting shot. The fist fighting, and the supermarket skirmish are much better.

Enough quibbling. I just put that paragraph in to make me look something slightly closer to objective. I’m not, though — I love this film and if it were human, and preferably female, I would want to have its very funny babies.

  1. Well, in the sense that they both take the piss out of action movie conventions. Almost nothing else though. For a start, there are no puppets in this film, and no swans in that one.
  2. I’d provide examples but I’ve decided that that would only lessen the impact of the jokes. So you’ll just have to trust me.
  3. Apparently, Sandford is the made up town in which the British Police set their training videos.
Have you ever wondered why the crime rate is so low, and yet the accident rate is so high? — Sergeant Nicholas Angel

4 Responses to “Hot Fuzz”

  1. I don’t see how anyone could not find Timothy Dalton’s delicious cheesiness anything other than funny. I love this film too.

  2. I want to watch it again. Shaun of the Dead had a lot of stuff happening in the background, which I didn’t notice in Hot Fuzz.

  3. Good review, incidentally. I would find it difficult to talk about. When thinking about it now I can think of maybe a dozen little moments that I really loved, but you can’t really mention them without spoiling them.

  4. Absolutely. I kept wanting to say something but had to hold back.

    In retrospect I should have mentioned Simon Pegg’s acting, which I thought was excellent — the straight man, yet very, very funny. He does good panic.