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
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test