Here’s the set-up.
London supercop Nicholas Angel is sent to the country by the Metropolitian Police Department — he’s so good, he’s making the rest of the force look really bad. So, the man who keeps London safe now has to face the terrors of the quiet English village in the countryside where the crimes involve underage drinking, escaped swans, and the occasional shoplifter.
But then a traffic collision that decapitates a local thespian and his mistress catches Angel’s attention. Then other people start dying in freak accidents. And Angel believes that the small town of Sandford isn’t accident prone — Angel believes he’s got a serial killer on the loose.
Meanwhile, Angel has an adoring fan in the shape of PC Danny Butterfield. Ah, Danny. He wants some “proper action.” Police work, in his view, should be like Point Break and Bad Boys 2, which police work in Sandford is nothing like. And Angel, coming from the big city, has led the police life that Danny always wanted.
“Have you ever fired two guns while jumping in the air?”
“Have you ever fired one gun while jumping in the air?”
Angel, naturally, has his suspect — local businessman Sissy Skinner, portrayed by Timothy Dalton with a deft comic touch — who comes across as the most charming sinister businessman you’d ever meet. But when Angel assembles his force and goes to bring in Skinner, believing that he’s gotten to the bottom of a conspiracy involving land deals and the local planning commission, we discover that Angel is full of hot air, and he’s disgraced in the eyes of the Stanford police force.
That the truth of the events in Sandford is at once far more mundane and far more horrific than Angel’s rather brilliant piece of detective work is one of the charms of this movie. And when Angel faces a personal betrayal, his resolve to bring Sandford to justice leads to an incredibly violent and bloody climax.
Imagine for a moment a cop buddy movie — say, Bad Boys — as a BBC sitcom like, oh, The Vicar of Dibley. You play by that narrative convention for an hour and a half, and then when it’s time for some “proper action,” the gears shift, and now we’re in pure hyperkinetic Tony Scott territory.
When the lead starts flying — and there’s a fuckload of lead that starts flying — mindless violence has never been so hilarious. Imagine old pensioners with shotguns, Kalashnikovs, and all sorts of heavy amunition. The town square turns into Kabul or Sarajevo with snipers in every window.
It’s because the film plays everything so straight and so by the conventions of its genres that it succeeds. This is no parody. This is two of the funniest hours of filmmaking ever made.
And who would ever have thought that Simon Pegg would be a badass mofo to out-mofo Samuel L. Jackson?
If there were any justice in the world, Hot Fuzz would be nominated for Best Picture, instead of some cloying Harvey Weinstein financed tear-jerker monstrosity. Because there is nothing that Hot Fuzz gets wrong.
If you like cop buddy movies, if you like a comedy that treats you like an intelligent adult, Hot Fuzz is your movie. Also, liking mindless violence wouldn’t hurt.
Originally published here.