HOT FUZZ is one the most entertaining film experiences that I've had in YEARS! This is probably the most enjoyable film I've seen since COLLATERAL. And it's a British film, most of which I find heavy-handed and boring! But not this one! It's actually extremely difficult to put this film into just one category: cop film, action, mystery, comedy, drama, parody, homage? It's actually all of these things and much more. As parody/homage, it definitely has elements of a lot of other 'old' action movies in it: LETHAL WEAPON, DIE HARD, BAD BOYS II (they constantly reference this film along with POINT BREAK), and guess what? There's also a big-time homage to A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS at the beginning of the film's spectacular climax!
HOT FUZZ tells the story of London supercop Constable Nicholas Angel (played brilliantly by Simon Pegg). Angel is one baaaad man! He has a ridiculously high arrest rate and is in top physical and mental shape. But his cronies in the London police are jealous of his success b/c he is as the London Chief Inspector says 'making them all look bad'. So Angel is transferred to the small, quiet English burg of Sandford. The head of Sandford's police force, Inspector Frank Butterman (played by Jim Broadbent in a lively, funny performance) assures Angel that nothing ever goes on in Sandford and that there hasn't been a murder or major case in 20 years! Of course, Angel, ever the suspicious and dedicated cop, immediately finds trouble in virtually EVERY situation. There are times in the film where you actually believe that Angel is actually paranoid b/c of his anal personality, even though you know that he is indeed right: there's SOMETHING wrong in Sandford! We constantly see right before several 'accidents' a mysterious hooded figure murdering prominent town citizens.
Angel's partner is Constable Danny Butterman (played by Nick Frost in a hilarious and moving performance). Danny is the Inspector's son and is only interested in screwing off watching action movies and eating ice cream and cake! Angel and Danny's relationship is at the core of the film and is truly one of the best buddy relationships that I've ever seen in film. They are complete opposites, yet they complement each other to perfection. And both men learn things from each other. Danny learns how to be a much better cop and Angel learns how to take it down a notch and appreciate the finer things in life. Angel and Danny's police cohorts are Constables Tony Fisher, Doris Thatcher, Bob Walker, Sergeant Turner, and the 2 Andys (played hilariously by Kevin Eldon, Olivia Colman, Karl Johnson, Bill Bailey, Paddy Considine, and Rafe Spall). They are all just as apathetic to what is going on in Sandford as Danny.
The film sports a great cast of quirky characters that, along with Inspector Butterman, comprise the town's NWA (for Neighborhood Watch Alliance) played brilliantly by veteran actors: grocery store magnate Simon Skinner (one of the former JAMES BONDs Timothy Dalton), surveillance expert Tom Weaver (THE EQUALIZER Edward Woodward), the bicycling schoolmarm Amanda Paver (Lorraine Hilton), Dr. Hatcher (Stuart Wilson), hotel owner Joyce Cooper (Billie Whitelaw), pub owners Roy and Mary Porter (Peter Wright and Julia Deakin), Rev. Shooter (Paul Freeman), candy shop owner Annette Roper (Patricia Franklin), local farmer James Reaper (Kenneth Cranham), and flower shop owner Leslie Tiller (Anne Reid).
I accidentally came across HOT FUZZ while channel-flipping and luckily caught essentially the first 10 minutes of real dialogue of the film (the part right after the obligatory opening introduction and backstory of our hero Angel that I saw upon 2nd viewing). This 10-minute pair of scenes in the London police station where Angel's superiors are telling him they are transferring him and Angel at the crime scene with his ex-girlfriend Jeanine (who I later found out was Cate Blanchett in that body-covering getup) had me laughing hysterically and so I thought I'd stick around to see how this movie was going to turn out. I was sure the film was a comedy by this first 10 minutes, but when I checked the menu description of it, it said it was Action/Adventure and I went 'Huh?' I don't think the real action came until the last 30 minutes of the film, but along the way, I was laughing constantly and thoroughly engaged also by the mystery element and quirkiness of the film. I think that there were at least 5 or 6 times where I was sure that they were at the end of the film and I was completely fooled and then there was another hitch. And it was all worth it! For me, this film is really a great tip-of-the-hat to all the over-the-top action movies of the past 20 years or so. It simultaneously mocks those films while paying playful homage to them. And the key word is FUNNY. You will laugh throughout! This is truly one of the very few films in this decade of the 2000s (came out in 2007) that I've enjoyed from beginning to end! A great achievement!
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