Three years on from their big screen “Rom-Zom-Com” debut, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright are back for another slice of genre busting action in Hot Fuzz, but does it match up to its predecessor? We get watching to find out.
Pegg plays Sergeant Nicholas Angel, a London supercop whose astonishing arrest rate is beginning to make the rest of the plods in his division look bad. To preserve their dignity Angel’s superiors pack him off to a sleepy Gloucestershire village where the police are so underworked that they spend most of their days eating ice cream and tracking down escaped livestock. But after a string of mysterious disappearances our man begins to suspect that something is afoot in the supposedly crime free haven of Sanford, and makes it his job to uncover the truth.
After months of “worthy” movies all vying for attention and adoration for the Oscars, it is a blessed relief to finally sit down for 2 hours of mindless action and uproarious laughs.
Relocating the traditional American buddy cop thriller to the mean streets of Gloucestershire (just as they transplanted the well trodden zombie format movie to London in SOTD) is ripe with comedic potential, and the chemistry between Pegg and Frost is a match for any of the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence or Mel Gibson-Danny Glover vehicles they are parodying.
Witty throwaways (“Judge Judy and executioner”), clever sight-gags (the troublesome neighbourhood watch association is known simply as “N.W.A.” - a reference to Niggaz With Attitude who sung “F*!k Tha Police”), and intentionally absurd action sequences (e.g., a carnage strewn shoot up in the local branch of Somerfield) make Hot Fuzz the funniest movie of the year so far.
As for the extras, where on earth do we begin? Four audio commentaries (including one from a bunch Somerset coppers), half an hour of video blogs, and a shed load of deleted scenes – also with additional commentary – are a pretty decent start … but there’s plenty more to come. A half-hour “Making Of” featurette - “Rural Weapon” - from writer / director Edgar Wright is next up, followed by interviews with the all-star Brit cast (Cate Blanchett even makes an uncredited appearance), and a wagon load of behind-the-scenes footage documenting everything from design to stunt work. Toss in those deleted scenes - all 22 of them, a couple of alternative openings and plenty of deranged ramblings from Pegg and you have one of the best special features packages we can remember.
While the movie will have you laughing out loud, we especially like the swear box gag, where this “British Shane Black movie” falls down however is in the final third, as the plot shrinks from “pretty thin” to “anorexic” and our patience with director Wright soon runs out as he takes us through three, yes three, different endings.
Staring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Bill Bailey, Paddy Considine, Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Extras: 4 Audio Commentaries: Commentary featuring Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, Commentary with the real fuzz, Commentary with Sandford Village People, Commentary featuring Sandford Police, Outtakes (10m 19s), Theatrical Trailers & TV Spots, The Man Who Would Be Fuzz, Hot Funk, Fuzz-o-meter, Storyboards, Flick Book: The Other Side, 22 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (19m 50s), Making of Documentary, 13 Video Blogs, Featurettes, Photo & Poster Galleries, Plot Holes & Comparisons (3m 14s) , Special Effects: Before & After (6 Scenes) (6m 0s), Dead Right: Edgar Wright's First Cop Movie with Filmmaker Commentaries (40m 10s): Commentary by Edgar Wright, Commentary by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, Am Blam: Making Dead Right (10m 26s)