Countdown to The World’s End – Hot Fuzz (2007)

We count down to The World’s End by looking back over Edgar Wright’s previous films; next up is Luke Owen with Hot Fuzz…

When looking back at the greats of comedy movies and the ones that will stand the test of time, you have Duck Soup, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, This is Spinal Tap, Airplane!, Ghostbuters and then you have Hot Fuzz.

Quite simply put, Hot Fuzz is about as close to perfect as a comedy can get.

Following on from the (pretty surprising by many standards) success of Shaun of the Dead and its brilliant parodying of the zombie genre, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg decided to follow a similar formula for their next subject to tackle: the buddy cop movie. Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a brilliant London police officer who plays everything by the book and is one of coppers in his area. The problem is that he’s too good and he’s making everyone around him look bad. As such, they ship him off to the quiet village of Sandford where he discovers that no crimes are ever committed. That is, until a few locals start showing up dead…
As a film critic, you are often challenged with finding faults within movies. This can often be a simple task – I can watch the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and struggle to find anything positive to say. But sometimes you get a film like Hot Fuzz where it is nigh on impossible to find something to hate about it.

Shaun of the Dead is a great movie, let’s make no bones about it. It hit every nail on the head that it needed to in a way that made the film near perfect. For me, Hot Fuzz is where the Wright/Pegg/Frost dynamic perfected everything that they’d been working towards since starting Spaced back in 1999. Like Toy Story 2, they took everything they got right with Shaun of the Dead and expanded upon it to make it better. The jokes are funnier, the characters and their arcs are better and Wright’s direction is tighter. It works on every level.

The relationship between Angel and Danny is one of the movie’s major highlights. Parodying the buddy-cop genre to a tee, the two bounce off each other so well and the characters are so likeable that it creates an entertaining dynamic. In one of the earlier drafts of the movie, there was a love interest for Angel who was then removed and a lot of her dialogue was given to Danny. For me this was 100% the right decision as their relationship is a far more interesting one that Angel and some random woman.

But let’s not forget the number one reason why Hot Fuzz is a superb movie – it’s hilarious. When talking about great comedies, I always throw up Airplane! as one of my examples because if you don’t like one of the jokes they provide, they’re will be another one thirty seconds later that you will laugh at. Hot Fuzz works in the same way. The punchlines come through so thick and fast that you need to watch it a few times to make sure you got every single gag. Heck, some gags require the commentary track because they’re so subtle. No matter what brand of comedy floats your boat, Hot Fuzz will steer you to shore.

I can (and have done in the past) talk about this film for hours on end. Everything about the movie works and I don’t have enough time to delve into every facet of it. I didn’t even get to talk about the genius of Paddy Considine, Adam Buxton or Kevin Eldon. Or Timothy Dalton’s Simon Skinner (he’s a slasher… of prices). The genius gag of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (the N.W.A). Or the hidden cameos of Peter Jackson, Cate Blanchett and Joe Cornish. Or Aaron A. Aaronson…

Hot Fuzz, dear readers, is comedy perfection. And if it isn’t, it’s as close as we’ll ever get.

“You wanna be a big cop in a small town? F*** off up the model village.”

Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Month in Review show for Flickering Myth’s Podcast Network. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.