Hot Fuzz (15)

2.00

Crime and punishment

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright made an auspicious debut in 2004 with their bizarrely inspired Shaun of The Dead, forging an unlikely fellowship between romantic comedy and zombie horror - a "romzomcom", in their deathless phrase. They've followed up that genre-bending feat with another, Hot Fuzz, a witches' brew of influences and references that keeps the level of outlandishness promisingly high. Imagine, if you will, The Wicker Man and High Plains Drifter forming a loose alliance with The League of Gentlemen, Midsomer Murders and Heartbeat; then stir in a whole bunch of action movies featuring maverick cops or feds. You have to admire the nerve, even if the comedy doesn't hit as many true notes as the first film did.

Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London police constable who's so devoted to the job that his superiors decide to transfer him to the country lest he continues to show up the rest of the Met as inefficient. Those superiors, by the way, are played - in ascending order of seniority - by Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighy. Sandford, where Angel has been posted, is described as "the safest village in the country" and is also, by the look of it, the village most heavily populated with British character actors and comedians. The police station alone features Bill Bailey as a desk sergeant, Paddy Considine as a tough-nut detective, Olivia Colman as a saucy WPC, Jim Broadbent as the avuncular inspector and Nick Frost as PC Danny Butterman, whose partnership with Angel, in the age-old tradition of mismatched cops, begins in mistrust before blossoming into mutual respect.

The plot concerns a mysterious sequence of deaths that the villagers would like to pass off as unfortunate accidents but which Angel believes are murder - the local thespian (David Threlfall) ends up decapitated after his dramatic take on Romeo and Juliet, the local property magnate (Ron Cook) is atomised when his hideous neo-Georgian mansion blows up, and a local reporter is squashed by falling masonry from the church steeple. The finger of suspicion points to the supermarket manager (Timothy Dalton), if only for his wicked smirk and untrustworthy moustache, but Angel will have his work cut out before he can crack the case and find the secret uniting the village.

The audience might feel it as work, too. Hot Fuzz begins in such a headlong style (the whippy rat-a-tat editing is quite brutal) that you fear for the moment when the film decides to take a breather. In fact, it's not the low-key middle section of missing swans and church fêtes that undoes it, but the cranked-up final reel in which the village's true character is revealed.

The director and co-writer, Wright, chooses this part to exhibit his love of cop movies and chase sequences - the Kathryn Bigelow action romp Point Break is its principal referent - evidently hoping that the juxtaposition of English gentility and American violence will generate its own peculiar comedy. Only here will you see a gunfight played out amid the aisles and meat counters of a Somerfield supermarket. Peculiar it certainly is; whether it hits the spot as comedy is doubtful.

Wright and Pegg have a reliable instinct for brand banalities, and can raise a laugh just by mention of the words "Datsun Cherry", or by the sight of two policemen munching Cornettos in their squad car. It's the strain of humdrum Englishness that they mined so fruitfully in their Channel 4 comedy series Spaced. The same impish spirit is uncorked here, but it has been fatally indulged: the film, unable to decide on a finale, merely bolts one ending on to another, and the running time creeps up to the two-hour mark. By this point the fizz has gone out of this Fuzz.

Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
'Africa' will be Angelina Jolie's fifth film as a director

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Len Goodman appeared to mutter the F-word after Simon Webbe's Strictly performance

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T makes his long-awaited return to the London stage
musicReview: Alexandra Palace, London
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 back in 2001 when they also supported 'Children in Need'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth rejoins Tess Daly to host the Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need special
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey getting ready for work

Film More romcom than S&M

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Review: The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
The comedian Daniel O'Reilly appeared contrite on BBC Newsnight last night

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
The American stand-up Tig Notaro, who performed topless this week

Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars

Arts and Entertainment

TVNetflix gets cryptic

Arts and Entertainment
Claudia Winkleman is having another week off Strictly to care for her daughter
TV
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK

TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his winning novel

Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination

Arts and Entertainment
Bryan Cranston will play federal agent Robert Mazur in The Infiltrator

Books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines