Two things are going to unfairly harm this film: its Britishness and the timing of its release. HOT FUZZ has the misfortune of being released here in America only a few short days after an attention-craving stalker maniac shot 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech University. Not the best time to release a film in which lots of gunplay and action sequences are prominently featured. A lot of great films have been harmed by circumstances outside of studio control, and I hope this will be given a fair shake, because it’s a certified classic.
The more action movies you’ve absorbed over the course of your life, the more you’ll appreciate Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s incredible action movie/spoof/homage, HOT FUZZ. Like the classic SHAUN OF THE DEAD was to zombie movies, HOT FUZZ is a direct hit, on point send-up of buddy cop action films. Hold on, I’ll get back to this in a minute. Allow me to digress.
Everyone praises Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, for obvious reasons. Wright is the director. Pegg is the star of the show. The two men wrote the script. That’s all well and good, but that leaves out the person who is most responsible for the success of these projects, and who doesn’t get any credit: Nick Frost.
Where’s the love for the lovable lug of a second banana (or as they say in Britain, bananer)? In a movie such as this, the buddy cop movie, the sidekick is significantly more important than the lead character. The lead is boring, studious, by the book (or alternately he’s a borderline psychopath) and it is only through the effort and friendship of the sidekick that he loosens up, shows a little humanity, and learns to embrace a life that isn’t all about doing things by the procedural (or to not be a psychopath all the time, but this is a film about a by-the-book cop, not a loose cannon).
Nick Frost’s character, Daniel Butterman, is the counterpoint glue to the lead character, and if he’s not done well, the whole film falls apart. There needs to be chemistry between his character and the lead, and we need to care about the sidekick so when he’s put into danger (and they always are, since they’re the sidekick), we care whether or not he gets saved. Every time Daniel and Nicholas are on screen together, there’s a natural chemistry. You can tell these two are good friends off-screen, and it translate into a great on-screen relationship. Toss in an incredible supporting crew of actors (especially Jim Broadbent), and you’ve got yourself a winning ensemble.
This is, without a doubt, the best black comedy since SHAUN OF THE DEAD (what a surprise, huh? I wish I could have reviewed this movie without constantly comparing it to SHAUN, but those are the breaks). This film starts off well and only picks up steam until the ludicrous and hysterical closing act, working as both an action film and a send-up of action films, without any of the snide superiority of, say SCARY MOVIE and more of a NAKED GUN feel.
I cannot recommend it strongly enough, so get off your arse and go give it a look. Just be careful. There are a lot of accidents out there.