Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action comedy film written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. The three had previously worked together on the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead as well as the television series Spaced. The film was directed by Wright and produced by Nira Park, and follows two police officers attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths in a small village.

Over a hundred action films were used as inspiration for developing the script, which Wright and Pegg worked on together. Filming took place over eleven weeks in early 2006, and featured an extensive cast along with various uncredited cameos. Visual effects were developed by ten artists to expand on or add explosive, gore, and gunfire scenes. Prior to the film's release it was promoted on video blogs during the production as well as at a San Diego Comic-Con panel.

Debuting on 14 February, 2007 in the United Kingdom and April 20 in the United States, Hot Fuzz received wide acclaim with a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 81/100 from Metacritic. The total international box office gross reached $80,573,774 before its home media release. Shortly after the film's release, two different soundtracks were released in the UK and US. The film is the second in Wright & Pegg's planned Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, with Shaun of the Dead being the first.

The Plot

PC/Sergt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), an extremely dedicated police officer in London's Metropolitan Police Service, performs his duties so well that he is accused of making his colleagues look bad. As a result, his superiors kick him out of the service and transfer him to "crime-free" Sandford, a village in rural Gloucestershire. Also, he has an ex girlfriend who left him for being obsessed with his job and gives him the cold shoulder. Once in Sandford, he immediately arrests a large group of underage drinkers, and a drunk driver who turns out to be his partner, PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), the son of local police inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). Danny, a well-meaning but naive police constable, is in awe of his new partner. Angel struggles to adjust to the slow, uneventful pace of the village. Despite clearing up several otherwise unnoticed crimes in short order, including confiscating a naval mine and a large number of unlicensed firearms, Angel soon finds his most pressing concern to be an escaped swan. His attention to the letter of the law also makes him the focus of dislike by some of his co-workers. Angel and Butterman eventually bond over drinks at the local pub and action films such as Point Break and Bad Boys II.

A series of gruesome deaths shocks the village; Angel investigates, believing the deaths to be murders. He attempts to arrest Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), the manager of the local Somerfield supermarket, under suspicion of murdering the victims due to their involvement in a lucrative property deal. Skinner is able to provide plausible explanations for all of Angel's charges, and a videotape of himself working at his supermarket while the murders took place.

Disappointed at the setback Angel returns to his mundane routine, policing with Danny. However, at one of his stops for ice cream he overhears the shopkeeper inquire about the killers. He realizes that he was wrong in suspecting all the murders to be the actions of one person. He takes his multiple-killer theory to the police chief, who asks him to sleep on it and return to him if he still believes in it in the morning.

When Angel returns to his hotel room, he is attacked by a cloaked figure. He knocks the attacker unconscious, discovering it is Michael Armstrong (Rory McCann), the trolley boy at Skinner's supermarket, sent by Skinner to kill Angel. Angel heads to a nearby castle where he discovers the truth: Skinner, Inspector Butterman, and the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA), intent on keeping Sandford's title of "Village of the Year", have been murdering anyone who they saw as a threat to the village's charming image, with the evidence leading to the property deal motive being simply coincidental. Angel discovers the bodies of various "problem" people whom the NWA disposed of, before being cornered and 'stabbed' by Danny, apparently a member of the NWA.

Having tricked the NWA into believing that Angel is dead, Danny drives him to the village limits and releases him, insisting that he knew nothing about their true activities. Danny urges Angel to go back to London, reasoning that no one would believe the truth about Sandford. At a motorway service station, Angel sees Point Break and Bad Boys II on a nearby DVD rack and is inspired to stop the NWA. He drives back to town and arms himself with the guns he confiscated earlier, and with Danny's help, engages the members of the NWA in an increasingly destructive and frantic series of gun fights. After pursuading their colleagues of the truth, Angel and Danny takes the battle to the supermarket. Skinner and Inspector Butterman flee and are pursued by Angel and Danny to a nearby miniature park where Angel battles and defeats Skinner, in a rather bloody manner. Inspector Butterman attempts to escape in a car, but crashes into a tree when the swan Angel caught, right before his fight with Skinner, attacks the Inspector from the back seat.

Angel's former superiors arrive from London, begging him to return as the crime rate has risen heavily without him, but Angel chooses to remain in Sandford. Back at the police station, Tom Weaver, the last remaining member of the NWA, attempts to shoot Angel, but Danny dives in front of Angel and takes the shot. In the resulting chaos Weaver falls onto the confiscated sea mine, triggering it and destroying the station. In the aftermath Angel tears through the rubble of the police station, distraught after he uncovers an unresponsive Danny.

One year later, PI Angel lays flowers on a grave marked "Butterman"; it is revealed that Danny has survived and the grave is his mother's. Danny is now a sergeant and Angel the head of the Sandford Police Service, and the two head off to patrol Sandford.


The film received highly positive reviews, and was rated as highly as Shaun of the Dead. It has a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a Metacritic score of 81/100. Olly Richards of Empire said of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost: "After almost a decade together they’re clearly so comfortable in each other’s presence that they feel no need to fight for the punchline, making them terrific company for two hours". Johnny Vaughan of The Sun already called it the "most arresting Brit-com of 2007". Phillip French of The Observer, who did not care for Shaun of the Dead, warmed to the comedy team in this film. The film also received positive reviews stateside. Derek Elley of Variety praised Broadbent and Dalton, "who are especially good as Angel's hail-fellow-well-met superior and oily No. 1 suspect". As a homage to the genre, the film was well received by screenwriter Shane Black. On, it got their 2nd-highest rating of 'Full Price!!'.

The Daily Mirror only gave Hot Fuzz 2/5, stating that "many of the jokes miss their target" as the film becomes more action-based. Daily Mail also shared The Mirror's view, saying that "It's the lack of any serious intent that means too much of it is desperately unamusing, and unamusingly desperate". Anthony Quinn of The Independent said "The same impish spirit is uncorked here, but it has been fatally indulged".

The Cast

Simon Pegg as Nicholas Angel
 Martin Freeman as Met Sergeant
 Bill Nighy as Met Chief Inspector
 Joe Cornish as Bob
 Chris Waitt as Dave
 Eric Mason as Bernard Cooper
 Billie Whitelaw as Joyce Cooper
 Nick Frost as PC Danny Butterman
 Peter Wight as Roy Porter
 Julia Deakin as Mary Porter
Bill Bailey as Sergeant Turner
 Paul Freeman as Rev. Philip Shooter
 Trevor Nichols as Greg Prosser
 Elizabeth Elvin as Sheree Prosser
 Stuart Wilson as Dr. Robin Hatcher
 Lorraine Hilton as Amanda Paver
 Kevin Wilson as Butcher Brother
 Nicholas Wilson as Butcher Brother
 Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner
 Jim Broadbent as Inspector Frank Butterman
 Paddy Considine as DS Andy Wainwright
 Rafe Spall as DC Andy Cartwright
 Kevin Eldon as Sergeant Tony Fisher
 Karl Johnson as PC Bob Walker
Olivia Colman as PC Doris Thatcher
 Edward Woodward as Tom Weaver
 Graham Low as The Living Statue
 Patricia Franklin as Annette Roper
 Anne Reid as Leslie Tiller
 Kenneth Cranham as James Reaper
 Adam Buxton as Tim Messenger
 Stephen Merchant as Peter Ian Staker
Tim Barlow as Mr. Treacher
 Ben McKay as Peter Cocker
 Rory McCann as Michael Armstrong
 Alice Lowe as Tina
 Ron Cook as George Merchant
 David Threlfall as Martin Blower
 Lucy Punch as Eve Draper
 David Bradley as Arthur Webley
 Colin Michael Carmichael as Heston Services Clerk
 Maria Charles as Mrs. Reaper
 Alexander King as Aaron A. Aaronson

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