The first time I saw this (on the opening night) it was post-wine, post-opening ten minutes, and post-any seats being available more than ten centimetres away from the screen. Despite having an enjoyable evening I didn’t feel it was fair to review the film under such conditions. So I went again – such is my dedication.
Hot Fuzz comes from the makers of Shaun of the Dead, one of the best comedies in recent years I’d say (and I’d be right, of course). Simon Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, a police officer so anally good that his London squad ship him off to the country because he’s making them all look bad. In ye olde quiet English town, Angel meets simple PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost – Pegg’s childhood mate and comedic partner) and slowly finds that life in the countryside isn’t as quiet and boring as it seems.
Just as Shaun enveloped the lad’s love of zombie-flicks, Fuzz sees them tackle the action-genre. The film generally meanders through a mix of bobby-comedy and sparks of slasher-thriller, but its finale is a blast of action madness that looks like the most fun to film. Ever. Though it’s essentially a parody, the film never pokes fun at the genre. It embraces it. And sets it in the aisles of Somerfield. It’s genius in a very British way.
The cast is ever so familiar, with Spaced landladies and Shaun’s bit-parters, and Adam & Joe’s, er, Adam. Bigger names like Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, Jim Broadbent and Edward Woodward all play parts (some of them wheeled in to purposefully make you go ‘oh look it’s him!’) and Timothy Dalton is brilliantly hammy as the baddy. Even Peter Jackson pops up in an “all right, I had to research this because it’s so quick” cameo.
There’s no doubt this is a funny film. Some great lines, laugh-in-shock moments of violence and grin-inducing action pieces (Matrix-esque battle in a model village, anyone?) But there’s something about it that stops it from climbing the highest ranks of the CF scale. Pegg’s character is bravely different from his Shaun creation, but a little too severe to be wholly likeable. Edgar Wright’s direction features his trademark super-fast cuts, but there are times when it’s just too bloody fast (especially when you’re too close to the screen) and makes watching some fights scenes almost painful. And during the action-fest finale the boys get a little too carried away with having such a good time. Yes, they look very cool in their shades and with their big guns. But it strays too far over into not-as-funny territory for much too long.
But that’s not to say this isn’t an enjoyable film, and as with For Your Consideration, it shats over other ‘comedies’ (Norbit? For christ’s sake, someone burn the fat suit already). Big, bold and British, Hot Fuzz climbs the CF scale with its humour, but falters when the action become a little too ‘actiony’ (it is a word), therefore reaching the commendable heights of CF3.