Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy
I must admit, I approached this film with a certain amount of trepidation. Maybe it was because I was expecting what would basically become a cop-film parody version of Shaun of the Dead, with the same jokes and, on the whole, the same themes. Or maybe it was because I feared the team behind that first excellent parody would not live up to expectation and, possibly, overstretch themselves. Whatever the reason, I will say now, all my fears were dispelled even if my wallet felt a little lighter than normal.
It'd be unfair, however, to view this film in the light of Shaun of the Dead. Everyone knew where they stood with that zombie parody. With Hot Fuzz it's slightly different. Straight off you get the impression that Wright is going for a Guy Ritchie-cum-Tarantino over-the-top style of direction and, indeed, the opening few minutes come across as fairly serious and crammed with dramatic editing and unorthodox camera angles. From here, thankfully, most serious pretensions are abandoned as the scene is set nicely as top city copper Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is sent jealously by his superiors (cameos here from Bill Nighy and Steve Coogan) to police a sleepy town in rural Somerset among the overtly posh and amazingly eccentric. He teams up with a slow and hilariously lax police force, with which he becomes increasingly frustrated throughout the film as he and his partner, Danny Butterman (Frost), uncover one suspicious crime after another. A truly ridiculous but not off-putting at all plot unfolds, which finishes in a good half an hour of pleasingly slick action scenes and rather a lot of gore.
The comedy is also a pleasing mix of wit, slapstick and general crassness, with Frost and Pegg in particular working off each other with subtle yet biting one-liners, inducing wry smiles and belly-laughs alike from an audience who...