Retro Review – Hot Fuzz

When exceptional London police officer Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is transferred to a small country town – in the hopes that he’ll stop making other officers look bad – he is less than pleased at his new assignment. What he doesn’t realise, however, is that there is a sinister conspiracy afoot in among the community there.

Shaun of the Dead was the Spaced crew’s take on the rom com and the zombie flick, and they returned in 2007 to tackle the buddy cop film. Of course Pegg and Frost are at the centre of this overblown but hilarious comedy about one town’s struggle to be the best they can be.

Pegg shakes off the mantle of likeable slacker in Hot Fuzz; Nicholas Angel is the most over achieving police officer in London, and does everything with a sense of energy and importance. As the film goes on, Pegg allows the cold exterior of the character to slip slightly, but there is almost nothing of Shaun on display here… Except perhaps a love of ‘bad’ films.

As Danny – the man who became a police officer because it seems he didn’t know what else to do – Nick Frost ups his game slightly. Not only does he play a submissive character who must find the strength within himself to do what’s right, but Danny must also win over Angel to find a friend in the town where he has spent his entire life. Jim Broadbent also stars as a police chief whose affable demeanour is almost certainly a front and Timothy Dalton gives his best performance in years as the sinister Simon Skinner. The rest of the cast features small roles from Julia Deakin, Bill Bailey, Martin Freeman and Steve Coogan.

Danny’s character is obsessed with buddy cop movies, and this is the genre that Pegg and Co. are sending up in Hot Fuzz. The relationship between Danny and Angel is less easy than that of Shaun and Ed, but this allows both actors to show off their skill for showing warmth and kindness. There are plenty of movie references here for the fans, Cornettos feature (of course!) and some of the musical cues are simply delightful.

Edgar Wright carries his trademark style through the film; the smash cuts and fast edits are on show again, but there is also a sense of scale here that we have not seen before. This may be another small story, but there is nothing small about the final act… Well, except for the model town, maybe.

Once again, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright lovingly send up a genre that is ripe for pastiche. The jokes land, the scale is extended and the relationships between the characters are likeable and relatable. The gang have done it again, in style.

Rating: 5/5

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