hot-fuzz-poster.jpgI’m not much of a movie-goer, but as soon as I heard the newest addition to the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg repetoire was coming out, I made an exception. Best known for Shaun of the Dead (2004), the two released an all-new homage to over-the-top cinema, this time focusing on the police melodrama.

Hardcore and career-absorbed Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is promoted and transferred from his home in London to a small country town by his jealous superiors (Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman), where speeding tickets and loitering seem to be the worst crimes. However, Angel notices that the townspeople are rather odd, especially a Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton). Shortly after his arrival, people begin dying in bizarre “accidents” (including two beheadings and an explosion) that no one besides Angel thinks are murder. Fitted with the token hapless sidekick Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), Angel sets out to get to the bottom of it.

Hot Fuzz is certainly aware of itself, and at times feels a bit too aware. But to call it nothing but an homage or a parody is to do it an utmost disservice. Hot Fuzz cleverly executes the standards of the police drama/murder mystery – evoking the laugh but not distracting itself to do so. Just as in Shaun of the Dead, the point is not to emulate elements of other movies, but to combine and make something new.

The film certainly brings good acting to the front. Bill Nighy, another Shaun of the Dead veteran (as well as Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3), has a very disappointingly short appearance but is classically reserved, and hilarious, the entire time. Simon Pegg, though in a role that is intentionally unbelievable, doesn’t disappoint as the downsized supercop. Timothy Dalton is appropriately creepy.

For all its good intentions, Hot Fuzz has some puzzling missteps. The story’s twist, likehot-fuzz-group.jpg most murder-mysteries, doesn’t make much sense – a half-hearted attempt at resolution (hopefully it was a tribute to bad twists everywhere). Jim Broadbent‘s wide-eyed approach seems better suited for his Zidler days. Even the Wright/Pegg gory death scenes hurt the film’s veritable attempt to be considered legitimate. Don’t get me wrong – it is legitimate, but it came oh-so-close to shooting itself in the foot.

Even without the aspects listed thus far, the Hot Fuzz has something else to offer: the editing. The skilled editing in the beginning borders on the horror movie time-lapse editing (think The Ring) without going for that jagged feel. It simply builds tension. Most of the actual scares come from sudden cuts and movements later on in the film, but in the beginning, it’s mood-setting editing that almost feels too polished for what comes later on.

Hot Fuzz is a must see as the heir to the Shaun of the Dead throne. Though it could possibly be better than its predecessor, it lacks the non-stop entertainment feeling that audiences have already come to expect.