(2007) dir. Edgar Wright
Director/writer Edgar Wright and star/writer Simon Pegg’s follow-up to their highly amusing comedic send-up of zombie films, 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz tries to do a similar thing to the cop/buddy/action film. For sending up the conventions of popular genre movies, Wright and Pegg don’t simply lampoon them, but set them in small village England with characters quite unlike the standard issue casts of their regular genre flicks. So the flavor of these films is unique.
Wright and Pegg nod their heads rather emphatically to Point Break (1991) and Bad Boys II (2003) in particular, though the range of their inspiration and parody span a gamut going back to Chuck Norris among others. In this sense, the film remains in this highly self-aware and culturally referential character that has been prevalent for the past almost 20 years, laughing at the past while honoring it, and trying to make interesting and fun entertainment at the same time.
Quite frankly, Shaun of the Dead just worked a lot better in general. Hot Fuzz is amusing, funny at times, but overlong and highly uneven. It’s the same exact style as Shaun, but I just thought Shaun worked, while this one only sort of works.
The take on small town England, the other major point of lampoonery, is moderately funny. The town is obsessed with its perception as quaint and charming, lacking crime and modernity, cultured, but in a backwater sort of way. The commentary here is more cute than significant, and does not feel anything as challenging or enlightening as many other types of art and media that have addressed the character of England and its people. So, even there, what does it really have to offer?
It’s certainly not a bad film. But it wasn’t all that hot either.