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Hot Fuzz (2007)
Rated R

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Jim Broadbent

Rating:
***1/2
out of
*****

Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is London's top cop. His arrest record is 400% higher than any other cop on the force. He's received 9 special commendations in the last year. In short: he's making the rest of the force look bad. So, he's been reassigned to Sandford, a rural community that's been voted "best village of the year" for the last 4 years. In other words, nothing happens there. It's not the sort of place that London's most-dedicated crimefighter will have much to do. Or will he?

Nick's new partner, Danny (Nick Frost), is a bit of a dimwit who thinks that what he sees in American movies like Point Break and Bad Boys II is the reality of being a police officer in a large city. Frank (Jim Broadbent), Nick's new boss (and Danny's father,) is extremely laid back, urging Nick to calm down and realize he's not in London anymore.

Shortly after Nick's arrival, several of the town's most notable residents die in what everyone believes to be a series of unrelated accidents. Nick suspects otherwise and thinks that the local supermarket manager, Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), is to blame for their murders. His co-workers on the force think he's out of his mind. There hasn't been a murder in Sandford for 20 years. Now, Nick faces the biggest challenge of his career: making the people of Sandford realize that crime has come to their village.

Hot Fuzz is the work of the team responsible for Shaun of the Dead. That film was a hilarious parody of the horror genre. Hot Fuzz takes on buddy cop movies in the same way and does so almost as successfully. Director (and co-writer) Edgar Wright has all of the clichés down to a science. From quick edits and impossible gunplay to the overblown sound effects accompanying each of Nick's actions (including writing and hanging up his coat), Hot Fuzz brilliantly emulates and mocks the ridiculousness of over-the-top American action movies. Wright and co-writer Pegg's clear understanding of their subject matter allows them to include subtle humor in the script. That's something that's much appreciated considering most spoofs these days barely go beyond merely aping scenes from other films almost verbatim.

The only problem with Hot Fuzz is that it takes too much time to get going. The climactic payoff is almost worth the build-up but not quite. While the two hour running time does give the movie ample opportunity to explore the townsfolk and their quirks, it does more harm to the film's comedic momentum which recovers in the end, but just barely.

If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, you'll like Hot Fuzz. If you like comedies with some actual wit (and don't mind some gratuitous gore), you'll like Hot Fuzz. If you're the type that thinks Epic Movie was brilliant satire, you won't understand Hot Fuzz. It's the real thing.

Trivia: To indicate how behind the times Sandford police station is, the sound of a very old Apple Macintosh startup tone is heard in the background. This startup tone hasn't been played by any Mac that has been released in the last ten years. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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