Hot Fuzz (2007) – reviewed by George

I really enjoyed this movie and I have to admit that I probably did not do “Shaun of the Dead” justice last week. After seeing “Hot Fuzz” I think I understand better where the writers of the two films (Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg) are coming from. Take a genre, exaggerate its faults, and add some comic bits. It really is a satisfactory formula, and it is also funny.
This is an urban cop in suburbia movie, and it has all the tropes. There’s even a repeat of the fence-jumping bit from “Shaun”. Simon Pegg jumps over a whole street  of backyard fences, with his feet first to the left of his hands, then to the right, all the while getting farther away until a stuntman can take over and do a trampoline-assisted flip over the last fence. Then Nick Frost tries it and destroys the first fence.
The movie begins with two Metropolitan Sergeants of the London Police Service (one is Martin Freeman) calling Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) in to tell him that he is being promoted to Sergeant – in Sandford, Gloucestershire. Angel is seriously insulted and insists on seeing a superior officer. Someone arrives and says yes, it is our decision; you have indeed been correctly informed. But Angel still wants more confirmation of this totally unjust decision. So the Met Chief Inspector (Bill Nighy) comes in to affirm Angel’s new assignment. In a fanciful, unrealistic speech he then explains why (which would happen in the real world NEVER). Basically, Angel is too good; he is making everyone else look bad. He has a 400% better arrest record than anyone else on the “Team”, and he has to go. Far away. He is to live in a little cottage, very nice and all.
So what to do? Leave like a child? Or take it on the chin like the man he is? He says goodbye to his ex-girlfriend, which is pretty horrible, and leaves for Gloucestershire. There his “little cottage” is not ready, so he checks in to the Swan Hotel. He leaves the hotel for a drink (cranberry juice at the local pub), and ends up arresting everyone there – most of the clientele is underage, and Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) drives drunk leaving the place.
The next morning Angel finds all are gone – checked in and out. And Danny turns out to be a coworker. Not just a fellow cop but an officer, Constable Butterman, and the son of the Chief (Jim Broadbent). Angel meets the rest of the force: the Andes – Sergeant Andy Wainwright (Paddy Considine) and Constable Andy Cartwright (Rafe Spall), Constable Doris Thatcher (Olivia Colman of “Broadchurch”), Tom Weaver (Edward Woodward), an older gentleman who works all the surveillance equipment, and Saxon the police dog (Sampson). The Chief then partners Angel and Danny and they go off on rounds, an excuse to introduce all the eccentric village people.
So Angel attends the weekly meeting of the Neighborhood Watch Alliance, and meets Reverend Phillip Shooter (Paul Freeman), Dr. Robin Hatcher (Stuart Wilson), local businessman Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), and others. In his further travels with Danny he meets very young newspaper man Tim Messenger (Adam Buxton), conceited yet pretty awful actor Martin Blower (David Threlfall) and his leading lady in life and on stage Eve Draper (Lucy Punch). There’s also an eccentric swan, sort of a community mascot, played by a swan named Elvis.
Angel senses something wrong and out of sync in this country paradise long before the murders start, and after they do, it falls to him and Danny to sort out what is going on. If you think like I do, considering fame and past roles as a measure of importance and therefore of guilt, you will instantly go to Timothy Dalton as the source of all the evil. But thankfully it’s so much more complicated than that.
A good plot, built up with funny bits and surprises, leading up to one of the greatest urban (suburban?) shootouts ever.

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