Hot Fuzz (2007): A Homage to Buddy Cop Movies
Ahhh, Edgar Wright. You can do no wrong can you? I mean you gave us the great horror comedy Shaun of the Dead (2004) and what seems to be your magnum opus Baby Driver (2017). But one of my favorites has to be Hot Fuzz (2007), which really seems to have the most heart out of all the other films you’ve created, and has the be a great middle chapter in the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy.
Hot Fuzz (2007) follows decorated police Sergeant Nicholas Angel (portrayed by Simon Pegg) as he is transferred to the quiet West Country town of Sandford for being too good at his job. There he meets fellow cop and partner PC Danny Butterman (portrayed by Nick Frost), who just so happens to be a big fan of buddy cop films. When on duty, Angel sees an unrealistic number of “accidental” deaths that are far too convenient to be labeled coincidence. This starts a domino effect of sinister events which will lead to Angel trying to stop dangerous and persistent foes from killing any more innocent civilians.
When I say this movie is a homage to the buddy cop genre, there is no movie Hot Fuzz (2007) pays direct homage to, it actually goes with the normal character archetypes, and stereotypes synonymous you’d see in a buddy cop movie. For example, Nicholas Angel plays the no nonsense police officer that gets the job done, regardless of the cost. With this no nonsense officer is a partner, in the case of Hot Fuzz (2007) is Danny Butterman, who is more lax with the rules and is more street-smart/people-oriented. Which can find near direct correlations to the same character archetype in Midnight Run (1988), Point Break (1991), and Men in Black (1997). Although, they do hilariously pay direct homage to Point Break (1991) in the climax of Hot Fuzz (2007) with Danny refusing to shoot his evil father and just shoots the gun in the air like Johnny Utah did at the end of his respective film.
The references are not the only enjoyable aspect of Hot Fuzz (2007), as the chemistry between Pegg’s Angel and Frost’s Butterman is absolutely electric. They act as the perfect odd couple and you can’t help but smile every time they are on screen together. This just benefits from the fact that both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are best friends in real life, anything they’re in, they just work. It also works for both characters in their respective journeys, as Angel needs to learn to cut loose and care about someone more than the job and Butterman gets to learn some responsibility when on the job, even if it is a boring down in the middle of the U.K.
A movie’s script can make or break how good it will be, and Hot Fuzz (2007) has one of the tightest, funniest scripts out there. For one, it was co-written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg so there’s a lot of promise already. But they also use great foreshadowing intermixed with wit. When Angel is first brought into town and partnered with Butterman, they go about Danny’s usual routine, but while sitting in their cruiser on the clock. Angel begins using his skills of profiling and deductive reasoning to tell who might possibly be carrying a concealed weapon or just acting suspicious in general. This was all done as a little game to impress Danny about the intuition of a seasoned police officer. But what was surprising what how right Angel was, as in the climax one of the townspeople Angel profiled was actually carrying a concealed sawed off shotgun. Pegg and Wright also understand a running gag. Throughout the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, there is always a line of fences that Pegg’s and Frost’s characters always seem to use for a shortcut. And every time, they find a way to make it refreshing and similar to the gags of the previous and posthumous films.
I can’t dismiss the action in this film, especially that of the climatic town shootout. Which is both gut-busting and thrilling. Not only is Angel armed to the teeth with weapons in all his action hero glory, and the local cult of evil townsfolk decide just to go out guns ablazing. Which makes it even more hilarious when they keep missing by literal inches. Plot Armour was thick around that guy. It also amplifies the cheese and ham of the action when Butterman steps in to help Angel, as he lives out his dream of being in a buddy cop movie. They run shooting guns, dive through doorways, and even flipping off the trademark action hero sunglasses; all while looking incredibly badass.
If you’re looking for a fun time movie, this is your flick. If you want an actual intelligently written movie, this is your flick. With a story that keeps you guessing and well as side-splitting, you want to watch it multiple times to either see the twists or understand the jokes even better. Pegg and Frost amplify this film to a whole other level with their chemistry and impeccable delivery of some great one liners, comical jokes, and running gags. Hot Fuzz (2007) isn’t only a great homage to buddy cop films, but stands with the best of them on its own.