I feel
like we here at CHUD are on the verge of spamming our love for Hot
, so I’m going to do my best to keep this brief. But how can we not
be ebullient about a movie that meets and exceeds expectations? When a team
like Wright, Pegg and Frost go from cool underdogs to accomplished filmmakers
in just two projects, it’s difficult not to gush. And since the movie is just
as good as you’ve heard, if not better, maybe I won’t restrain myself after

Much as Shaun
of the Dead
was a boisterous bear hug for the zombie film, Hot
is an affectionate slap to the cop movie’s chops. Simon Pegg is
supercop Nicholas Angel, promoted to Sergeant to reward his dogged work ethic,
but busted out to the country because that ethic makes his fellow officers look
lazy. In sleepy Sandford he’s partnered with Nick Frost’s dim but enthusiastic
Danny, son of the local Inspector (Jim Broadbent). Small town crimes and
accidents distract him, but events soon point to a possible maniac on the

In the
intro to April’s Prognosticator, I mentioned how impressed I was that Wright
had made his cop flick more bloody and visceral than his zombie outing. Several
of the ‘accidents’, especially in the latter half of the film, are far more
gory than a mainstream audience will expect. They’re as funny as they are
brutal, though, and the violence never crosses that blurry line between violent
comedy and exploitation.

It’s not
just the extra grue, however. Every aspect here screams ‘more!’ This movie is bigger, funnier,
more ambitious and far more proficient than Shaun of the Dead. It’s
the polar opposite of the sophomore slump. Watching Hot Fuzz recalls the
excitement of seeing Tarantino nail Pulp Fiction, with an added bonus:
this is a better movie.

The story
of Nicholas Angel is so tightly plotted and cut, it feels military. But it’s a
lot more fun than that. See this movie in a packed house and you’re guaranteed
to miss jokes as one runs into the next. Shaun evidently showed this creative
trio what their baseline for comedy should be, and this script is never
satisfied with one gag per scene. Wright, Frost and Pegg one-up themselves

truly surprised me, though, is degree to which Simon Pegg has evolved as an
actor. Depending on your TV viewing habits, you might only have seen him appear
in Mission
Impossible III
, or perhaps as The Editor in season one of the Dr. Who reboot. Because Pegg isn’t
saturating screens his evolution is striking, and you might be shocked by the
credibility he brings to Nicholas Angel. Not only does Hot Fuzz riff extensively
on goofy action flicks such as Point Break, it offers an action
hero that is infinitely more believable.

And just
as their last film didn’t stoop to parody or feel satisfied with homage, Hot
Fuzz begins by riffing on the action film, but in the last act delivers an
insanely funny shoot-out that outdoes Michael Bay in spirit, if not budget.

I don’t
mean to minimize Nick Frost in my praise of Pegg; if he doesn’t evince the same
dramatic evolution, he does create in Danny a suitably different character from Shaun’s
Ed, who was such a strong presence it would be easy to fall back on. He also gets most of the best lines, and delivers them perfectly. The two
relatively young performers further have the blessing of a phenomenal supporting
cast: Edward Woodward, Timothy Dalton, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine,
and more, including great cameos. (Do yourself a favor: try to figure them out
before checking the IMDB.)

When I
watch Shaun of the Dead over again — a frequent occurrence — the flash cut
sequences often stand out as ill-fitting. Shaun’s morning ritual, in
particular, seems cut from a different film. As it turns out, that film is Hot
Fuzz, in which those fast-cut bits are perfectly at home. Edgar Wright’s filmic
syntax and vocabulary have leapt forward dramatically, and in terse clips he
efficiently paints in this village. That his technique is reflective of
Nicholas Angel’s only makes the film feel more of a whole.

I’m sure
there are people for whom Hot Fuzz just won’t work. It’s too much a child of
the movies — Bad Boys II; The Wicker Man; and yes, Shaun
of the Dead
— for the story to feel tangible outside the context of
film experience. But film experience is our experience, too, and after watching
this, I’m not sure how easily I’ll go back to regular old action flicks.

9.5 out of 10