| The Red Right Hand
It's not Shaun Of The Dead. You may see that as an early dismissal, a write-off for a sequel that fails to escape the shadow of its older brother. You would, of course, be completely wrong. Hot Fuzz may not be the fast-spreding, hard-hitting classic that Shaun Of The Dead turned out to be but it does show off some immense talent and carries you well through eighty-six minutes of cop parodying hilarity. Nicholas Angel [Pegg] is the most outstanding member of the Metropolitan Police Service, rewarded with distinctions and praise for everything he turns his attention to; a true police officer born-and-raised. In light of his excellence, his heavily cameo'd superior officers [Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan & Bill Nighy] have jealously reassigned him to the safest village in the country - statistically speaking. Unable to fight them, he heads on a train for Stanford in Gloucestershire. This is the moment when Wright's directorial power really shines through. He may have started out with TV's cult success, Spaced, but in this sequence alone he has managed to capture something unique and blend it with his harsh snap-back cutting, showing the dull (and clearly depressing for Angel) journey West. On arrival, an unnerving but pleasant country atmosphere greets Angel. As someone who moved from London to a quiet rural town, I know how he must have felt. Unable to sit still, he ventures out into the night and off to the local pub, where he witnesses hooded loiterers, underage drinkers and a large man consuming pints by the minute; one thing is certain, this is not London. The next morning Angel is the talk of the town; everyone know who he is and all wish to welcome him to their village. The more time he spends with the locals, the more suspicious our newly transfered sergeant becomes. Nasty accidents befall certain village residents and Angel's unstoppable brain kicks into top gear.
The characters are a treat to watch. The village inhabitants aren't exactly pushing the boundaries of deep character studies but as a whole they start to depict a typically British country-town. Pegg's character is possibly a little too stiff and serious, relying on his co-stars to bounce one-liners off of him; this works in a way, as it allows Pegg to show off an acting talent he clearly possesses but at the same time, doesn't really serve the genre. Having said that, Nick Frost plays the bumbling constable, Danny Butterman, who more than makes up for Pegg's lack of funny bone. Playing the villainous supermarket owner, Simon Skinner, is ex-Bond Timothy Dalton, who offers quite a few chuckles with his sleazy ways and particularly gory descriptions of people. The plot is clever enough without being overly convoluted and manages to produce a highly entertaining piece. Oddly enough, without one of the key RomZomCom elements, displayed in Shaun Of The Dead - namely the romantic side - Hot Fuzz feels like it's missing out on something. Once again, Frost steps in and fills the mark as he replaces the female interest with a tender sense of police partnership and camaraderie. At heart, this really is a buddy movie... CopBudCom... nah, doesn't really have the same ring.
The parodied films are a little harder to pick out to begin with, mixing British TV detectives with Hollywood blockbusters. Oddly enough, one of the main sources of spoofing is Point Break. The only reason I mention that is that I feel it's a really good cop movie that gets overlooked far too often. A particular highlight was Butterman's DVD collection; sliding back a pair of double doors, he reveals a room of films. Angel stares in amazement, muttering, "By the power of greyskull." Cheesy but nice. This was followed later by another classic moment: During a shoot-out in a supermarket, Angel beats down a mammoth henchman, leaving him in the freezer. Meeting up with Butterman, he explains the situation. Butterman replies with, "Did you say 'Cool off'?" Angel says no but feels he wants to impress his new friend and blurts out, "Earlier, I threw a big cuddly monkey at him and said 'Playtime is over' before hitting him over the head with my Japanese peace lily." Butterman rolls his head back, grinning and shouts, "You're off the chain!" - watching Frost & Pegg is always a delight. The pacing of this film is a little odd. For the first ten/fifteen minutes the comedy is a little on the sparse side, favouring mild suspense instead. As the grisly deaths start to clock up, we can see see Wright and Pegg's script really start to roll but it still feels a little tame. It's only in the last half-an-hour, when all hell breaks loose, that we get to see over-the-top action seamlessly blended with comedy, a la Shaun.
14th February 2007
The Scene To Look Out For:
Silly one really but during the height of Angel's introduction to small village life, he receives a call stating, "The swan's escaped." Thinking it's a joke, he asks the caller his name. Angel nods and says, "Paul Ian Staker? P.I.Staker? Piss-taker!? Come on!" We instantly cut to an exterior shot of Angel apologetically asking for a description of the swan from Mr. Staker. As I said, silly but made me laugh.
The Andy's: DS Andy Wainwright [Paddy Considine] and DS Andy Cartwright [Rafe Spall]. Two sarcastic, cynical Detective Sergeants that could be brothers, both armed with sharp tongues, bad moustaches and cheesy 80's sunglasses. Almost everything these two guys said and did was hilarious. Frost's character is exceptional but the laugh to screen-time ration plays more in favour of these two Class-A jokers.
"If you want to play big cop in the small town, fuck off to the model village!"
In A Few Words:
"Not exactly its predecessors but an extremely entertaining and fantastically funny follow-up nevertheless"