Have you ever passed through a small town on your way to somewhere more important and been just a little creeped out by all the perfect people and idyllic villages? Oh, they don’t have that wherever you are?
Well let me tell you, it’s one creepy experience to drive through one of these places. Do you know what reminded me of this experience? Watching the small village of Sandford in Hot Fuzz.
Building on the great work of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 2004’s Shaun of The Dead, 2007’s Hot Fuzz sees the trio return to the big screen bigger and bolder with the second entry of Wright’s fan-dubbed ‘Cornetto Trilogy’. This film blends action, mystery, and buddy cop antics with classic British humour, making this pretty much the perfect film.
Hot Fuzz follows high achiever police constable Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) after his promotion to sergeant gets him reassigned to the small innocent-looking town of Sandford, Gloucestershire by his resentful colleagues. A regular “Village of the Year” winner full of classic small-town busybodies, Angel is certainly caught unawares by the change of pace.
Far from being smitten with the small town as the London colleagues claim, Angel is frustrated by the mundanity of the village, the laziness and unprofessionalism of his fellow law enforcement officers and the tendency to focus on low crime statistics instead of enforcing the law.
However, the idyllic life of the villagers is shattered by a string of murders which the rest of the force is quick to write off as accidents. Angel isn’t convinced by a string of accidents that included someone getting their head caved in by church masonry.
He begins investigating with fellow policeman officer Danny (Nick Frost) and after relentless digging, suspects that each of the victims relates to a recent property deal and various other future deals.
SPOILER WARNING AHEAD for the rest of the article so if you’re thinking of watching all I’m going to say is go watch it on Netflix, it’s fun, exciting and incredibly funny up until the credits roll.
Before Angel can bring this up with the higher-ups, he is attacked by Michael “Lurch” Armstrong, one of the local grocery store owner Simon Skinner’s henchmen. Angel manages to knock out the giant and then delivers one of the best lines of the film.
(c) Universal Pictures. Video provided courtesy of Youtube.
Emboldened in his search for the truth, Angel heads to the Sandford castle and interrupts a secret meeting of the Neighborhood Watch Association. He confronts them about their actions and learns that the NWA carried out the murders for incredibly petty reasons out of fear that they would endanger Sandford’s chances of winning the Village of the Year award.
Danny saves Angel from the NWA and begs him to drive back to London for his own safety. Angel complies but changes his mind once he spots a rack of DVDs with movies that he and Danny bonded over. The next day he returns armed to the teeth with weapons he confiscated earlier in the film.
This kicks off an incredible final action set piece as Danny and Angel work their way through the entire village one member of the NWA at a time. The action is tense and thrilling with shotgun cocking and matching sunglasses.
The film culminates with a final showdown between Angel, Skinner, a ginger kid and a rogue swan in a miniature model of Sandford. Angel prevails and amid the celebrations, his London-based colleagues show up begging for him to return with them to help clean up the streets.
Angel ponders this before simply stating “I kinda like it here”. Yadda yadda, roll credits.
Now Hot Fuzz, and The Cornetto Trilogy in general, are praised for the exceptional work that Pegg, Frost and Wright put into each of the films in the Trilogy. While Shaun of the Dead and World’s End are great films, for me Hot Fuzz is by far and away the trio’s best work to date. Every single actor in this film plays their part perfectly.
From the two detectives lovingly referred to as the Andy’s to the slimy Simon Skinner to the bumbling Tim Messenger each performance is engaging and incredibly funny. However, the film is billed as a buddy cop film and as such, the spotlight is focused squarely on Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
That’s great for us because Pegg and Frost have such incredible chemistry with each other that I mentioned during my World’s End review. The camaraderie Pegg and Frost’s characters develop throughout the film is made all the more enjoyable to watch knowing that the two actors are firm and fast friends in real life. I mean who tries to remake Star Wars with someone if they’re not great friends for goodness’ sake!
(c) Collegehumor. Video provided courtesy of Youtube.
The chemistry between Pegg and Frost is heightened even further by Edgar Wright’s great cinematography. Everything from the shots, to the action scenes to the scene transitions, are done with Edgar Wright’s trademark style and flair. Each scene is shot perfectly as a parody of your classic high-stakes local cop thriller and watching it you can see that everything is dripping with that humour.
The juxtaposition of the high-stakes camera work coupled with the small town and the ultimately inconsequential matter of the best village competition leads to an absurdist comedic angle in the film that felt like it should only work as a Monty Python sketch yet here it just works so well.
With the film hitting all these home runs you know what the cherry on top of the sundae is? The great cameos throughout the film from some exceptional acting talents. Cate Blanchett, Bill Bailey, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nye and more are peppered throughout this film and rewatching the film becomes a fun game of spot the cameo.
They even managed to get Peter Jackson to cameo, yeah that Peter Jackson, Lord of The Rings Peter Jackson. He plays the crazy homeless man that stabbed Simon Pegg’s character through the hand in a blink or you’ll miss it cameo.
Overall, if you’ve got a film night coming up and can only watch one of the films in The Cornetto Trilogy I’ll recommend this buddy-cop thriller to you time and time again.
Have you seen Hot Fuzz? What is your favourite part of the film, and do you prefer it over the rest of The Cornetto Trilogy? Let me know down below.
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