This week on Movies Worth Rewatching we’re talking about Edgar Wright’s unabashed love letter to the buddy cop movie, Hot Fuzz (Universal Studios, 2007).
I was a little late seeing this movie (a familiar story, I know), but when I eventually did, it was an instant connection. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, my young soft brain was exposed to the height of excellence in the buddy cop genre, Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Point Break, Tango & Cash, Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, the list could go on and on.. and on. Needless to say, I really love a cliché-filled buddy cop movie. After the turn of the century, the buddy cop movie faded away and was replaced by the “wire-fu” years of action movies. Associated with the then “uncool” former decade, Hollywood shied away from the big explosions, gun play and cheesy one-liners of the buddy cop genre. That is until 2007 when I first heard the creative team behind Shaun of the Dead were trying their hand at a love letter to the buddy cop movie. I was honestly a bit skeptical of what the end result would be. I had managed to see Shaun of the Dead at the theater during its release and, as of that time, had yet to come around to its brand of humor (which I since have, and surely will write about in this column). So like I usually do, I passed on seeing Hot Fuzz during its release like an idiot.
A few years after its release, I managed to catch the back half of Hot Fuzz on a cable movie channel and was completely enamored with it. Lovingly peppered throughout this unusual crime story were quotes and homages to some of my favorite movies growing up. I watched in awe as the gratuitous use of bullets and witty one liners flew across the screen. The next day I went to the store and purchased the 3-disc Collector’s Edition DVD and began my love affair with this movie, and the work of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost.
So, how does it hold up in 2012?
I love Hot Fuzz more and more each time I watch it. There are so many references to the buddy cop genre woven into the crazy plot and production of Hot Fuzz so that I’m still, years later, noticing new things that I love about it. Weaving together cliché after cliché in a homage film like this could make for a tiresome film but Simon Pegg (the film’s lead/co-writer) and Edgar Wright (the film’s director/co-writer) do an absolutely incredible job making Hot Fuzz a film that is accessible despite its love letter origins. Edgar Wright makes not only a smart movie but a visually beautiful one as well. Using his singularly recognizable visual style, while also directly quoting some of the films that inspired Hot Fuzz shot for shot, Wright holds his audience’s attention on more than just one level. David Arnold (of James Bond fame) continues the buddy cop aesthetic with the film’s fun soundtrack and musical queues. Savvy viewers will hear inspired references to films like Dirty Harry, Lethal Weapon, and Bad Boys interlaced with the film’s rock soundtrack. All-in-all, Hot Fuzz really is the best buddy cop movie I’ve ever seen.
My favorite element of Hot Fuzz, and the real reason I watch it over and over again, are the incredibly funny actors and characters found throughout the film. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost carry the film with their hilarious comedy rapport. Neither one manages to outshine the other, not from any fault of their gifts, but rather because they are so perfectly matched as an onscreen duo that it’s impossible for me to separate one’s performance from the other. Timothy Dalton shines as the film’s seemingly evil and villainous super market owner. Dalton’s performance clearly demonstrates his relish for playing an inexplicably sinister antagonist and perfectly embodies the cliché while remaining truly entertaining throughout the film. The supporting cast of the film is brimming with several of Britain’s best making on and off appearances throughout the film, with special mention to Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman in bookending roles for the film. From start to finish Hot Fuzz is full of subtle jokes, clever puns and bold belly laughs that land consistently over multiple viewings entirely because of the immense talent delivering them.
If you’ve yet to see this absolutely enjoyable film, or it’s been more than a week since you’ve last viewed it, I highly recommend you watch Hot Fuzz. The film really does get better every time I watch it. If you’ve ever loved a buddy cop movie, there’s a reference somewhere in Hot Fuzz for you to enjoy. Hot Fuzz is available on Blu-ray and DVD and is well worth your time and money. Do yourself a favor and take a trip out to the country, care of Sandford’s Finest. Trust me, it’s for the greater good.
I wanted to try something new with Movies Worth Rewatching and, being a cartoonist, I wanted to start doing a sketch for each post. So here is the first one. Click the image to see head over to my site to see it in full.
by Mel Dale