What those hilarious Shaun of the Dead guys did for zombie flicks, they do for buddy-cop movies in Hot Fuzz. Be careful not to call it a spoof, though.
Nothing about the action-packed cop genre is left untouched in Hot Fuzz. It starts off by introducing Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), a sort of supercop with an arrest record 400 percent higher than anyone else's on the London force. He's so good, he makes everyone else look badso his superiors reassign him to the sleepy English village of Sanford. Angel is then paired up with the well-meaning but bumbling Police Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), who is also an affirmed action-movie junkie. He views Angel as a chance to possibly see some real gun-blazin' actionexcept nothing much happens in Sanford. Or does it? A series of grisly deaths leads Angel to believe this quiet burg may not be what it seems, even though the elders of the town (police inspector Jim Broadbent and local grocery story owner Timothy Dalton, among others) shrug them off as "accidents." It just might be time for these small-town cops to break out some big-city justice. Yippee ki-yay!
Pegg and Frost have way too much fun with this. The boys were friends long before Shaun of the Dead, and their natural camaraderie is obvious. Pegg is the perfect Abbott to Frost's Costello, as the no-nonsense Angel teaches the affable Butterman a few things about law enforcement, while Butterman teaches Angel how to loosen up a bit. Plus, that wonderfully dry British sense of humor they both share is infectious, which clearly must be the reason the myriad of veteran British actors appear in supporting roles. Along with Dalton and Broadbent, there's Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman as Angel's superiors who ship him off to Sanford. Around the World in 80 Days' Steve Coogan, Cate Blanchett and Extras' Stephen Merchant make uncredited appearances. Even lesser-known but still recognizable Brits show up, including the original The Omen's Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Baylock) and Raiders of the Lost Ark's Paul Freeman (Belloq). Everyone is not only laughing on the outside but on the inside as well.
Pegg and Frost's third partner in crime is co-writer/director Edgar Wright. After the three of them cooked up 2004's Shaun of the Dead, their side-splitting send-up of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, none of them could have imagined the cult success it would achieve. Simon Pegg went on to co-star with Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III, while Nick Frost starred in the British indie Kinky Boots. But it's Wright who seems to have gained the most attention, notably from Quentin Tarantino, who took Wright under his wing, even asking the Brit to shoot one of the "trailers" for Grindhouse's intermission. Wright is very creative with Hot Fuzz, employing hard, quick cuts and framing the action much like the genre he's poking fun at. The best is after one of the climactic gun battles, Angel and Butterman stand in the town square as the camera revolves around them 360 degrees, á la Bad Boys. The one drawback to Hot Fuzz is its troubled ending. After what would seem to be a perfect way to conclude, the film drags on for another 20 minutes, trying to pack in more action-movie clichés. But overall, this won't really detract from the fun you'll have.
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.