Hot action combined with Fuzz-y comedy

The latter claim isn’t far off. As director Edgar Wright told The Beacon in an interview, he and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost watched 138 films to prepare for the making of Hot Fuzz.,Hot Fuzz is advertised as “from the guys who brought you Shaun of the Dead and watched every action movie ever,” an appropriate announcement to tout this hilarious but loving send-up of blow-’em-up blockbusters.

The latter claim isn’t far off. As director Edgar Wright told The Beacon in an interview, he and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost watched 138 films to prepare for the making of Hot Fuzz.

“[Hot Fuzz] kind of plays like the greatest hits of thriller cliches,” Wright said. “When you watch 138 cop films you realize . there’s the same plot twists in L.A. Confidental that there are in Sudden Impact.”

But don’t be fooled: as Pegg countered in the same interview that “high art … can be low culture, too.”

Hot Fuzz succeeds at being all of these things rolled into one, an “affectionate homage,” as Wright puts it. Similar to the filmmakers’ previous effort Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz manages to present the typical marking points of the genre but also subverts them by working from another level.

The first 45 minutes of the film go along at a plodding pace, as the two main characters, Nicholas Angel (Pegg), a sergeant exiled from London for being too good at his job, and the village of Sandford’s buffoonish but well-intentioned police constable Danny Butterman (Frost), blossom into the buddy cops that theatregoers have come to love from films like Lethal Weapon and Bad Boys II.

Pegg and Frost basically reprise their hero and sidekick roles from Shaun with minor tweaks. Because the two have been friends for more than a decade, however, their natural comfort and chemistry together show, and are even briefly the butt of a joke poking fun at the inherently homoerotic nature of police partners on-screen.

With The Kinks’ “The Village Green Preservation Society” popping up on the soundtrack, things certainly appear well kept in idyllic Sandford and everyone from the police inspector (Jim Broadbent) to the local supermarket owner (Timothy Dalton) seems contented.

Thanks to the success of Shaun, the filmmakers have recruited a dream cast to populate Sandford, also including In America’s Paddy Considine and The Omen’s Billie Whitelaw (whom Pegg described as a “yummy grammy”) and a host of cameos from notable British comedy stars.

In addition to being a police procedural, however, Hot Fuzz manages to become a murder mystery as well, as the townspeople are brutally killed in bizarre accidents, including a church fair mishap that features one of the most ridiculously gory death sequences committed to film. Of course, no one believes the new cop’s suspicion that these incidents might actually be some murders, leaving Angel, with some help from Butterman, to uncover the mystery.

During the culminating half-hour, however, all hell breaks loose: in order to set the town straight, Angel and Butterman requisition artillery from the lock-up, and Hot Fuzz becomes the very thing it is parodying.

Transferring the bombastic action usually reserved on film for urban streets to the English countryside is a welcome change, and the ensuing chaos looks fantastic. Because of Wright and Pegg’s script, it’s genuinely hilarious, with characters mockingly delivering the corny lines usually reserved for Schwarzenegger and Seagal with a knowing wink.

But that might be overanalyzing it. After all, scholars aren’t exactly poring over the subtleties of Bad Boys II, which Wright realizes.

“If there is a message to Hot Fuzz,” he said. “It’s ‘sometimes, you know what, it’s just nice to switch off your brain and enjoy it.'”,Bryan O’Toole