Pegg & Frost in The Wright Stuff
Following the run away success of "Shaun of the Dead" the creative team of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright reunited and came up with another semi-parody in the form of "Hot Fuzz". Combining comedy with quasi action "Hot Fuzz" is like "Midsomer Murders" meets "Bad Boys". It's exceptionally funny especially the parodying of Hollywood action but in a very British way and although not technically a sequel it is a great follow up to "Shaun of the Dead" with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost delivering plenty of comic fun.
When over achieving London PC, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg - Mission: Impossible III), is re-assigned by his superiors to the sleepy town of Sandford, he is less than pleased to be in a world without crime and partnered up with a new partner, the half-witted Danny Butterman (Nick Frost - Penelope). But when the village is rocked by a series of seemingly unrelated accidents and deaths, Angel decides that all is not as it seems in the sleepy town.
"Hot Fuzz" is unsurprisingly very similar in style to "Shaun of the Dead", from the dead pan gags through to the quick, snappy edits and most importantly it has characters which are interesting. To be honest "Hot Fuzz" is more about the characters than the plot, although it does have one which works well as a vehicle for the humour. My only real criticism of "Hot Fuzz" is that at just short of 2 hours it is too long and there is a middle section to the movie which whilst funny just drags its feet slightly.
The main plot to "Hot Fuzz" is very simple, a by the book, over achieving cop is sent to a sleepy town which turns out not to be that sleepy. There are a couple of minor sub plots, such as the oafish partners fascination with action movies but nothing which makes the movie in the least bit complicated or hard to follow. That is part of the movies success, it keeps things simple, it doesn't require your concentration and although it is technically a who-dunnit it is pretty easy to guess who-dunnit.
Where "Hot Fuzz" succeeds is in the parodying of action movies, such as "Bad Boys". All those typical movie scenes and cliché dialogue are included in "Hot Fuzz" and rather than being cheesy in its parody it is hilarious. What Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have achieved is to take those sequences such as cops flying through the air in slow motion and shooting, placed them in the movie in such away that they are funny, funny in the sense that you don't expect this sort of thing from a British movie. Even the dialogue, taken from those big budget action flicks is adapted to give it a touch of British ness. In lesser hands I feel that "Hot Fuzz" could have turned into a movie of set pieces without any real structure, but the humour combined with an effectively simple plot works well.
It is not just the parodying of action movies which makes "Hot Fuzz" funny, it is the minutiae as well. Little things like the way people speak and the take on a sleepy British town which are just as hilarious, although I am not sure that it would translate as well for an overseas market. But there are other things, like certain camera shots, such as in the supermarkets car park which again are just hilarious. These minutiae matched up with the parodying of action movies makes "Hot Fuzz" pretty much a laugh a minute movie.
Again we seen the partnership of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost come together having seen them in the likes of "Shaun of the Dead", "Spaced" and various other movies and TV series. Their partnership is a huge factor to why "Hot Fuzz" works, would it be so good if Simon Pegg partnered up with someone else, I doubt it as the two have history and for those who have seen say "Shaun of the Dead" will enjoy watching them play off each other again. Typically Simon Pegg plays the more sensible front man Nicholas Angel to Nick Frost's more laid back character Danny, it suits them perfectly and due to their history together their timing is spot on.
Where as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the obvious stars of "Hot Fuzz", the supporting cast is an array of well known faces including Martin Freeman, Billy Nighy, Bill Bailey, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton and Edward Woodward. These great actors and comedians are brilliant in there supporting roles, taking on a range of characters which you would recognize from any small, close knit town, but giving them that slightly exaggerated persona making each funny in their own right but not to the point that they become caricatures.
What this boils down to is that "Hot Fuzz" is a very good follow up to the success that Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright achieved with "Shaun of the Dead". It follows on in the same style so if you enjoyed the first movie you will enjoy this one. But it doesn't just feel like they have stuck to the same formula, so it still feels uniquely fresh and with taking on the parodying of big budget action movies they have achieved something where many others fail, a truly funny action movie which manages laugh a minute humour.