Dir. Edgar Wright
Premiered February 14, 2007
The 2000s were a dark decade. The horrors of the September 11 attacks in 2001 cast a shadow over the western world, yes, but even in those innocent days leading up to that terror, an inexplicable melancholy was emerging. This new world was pale, dour, and clad head-to-toe in black. Absent a much-needed sense of common sacrifice and effort, Hollywood decided that we had to become monsters in order to fight monsters. Angst was the law. Fun was the enemy. We didn’t know how to switch off.
It was into this milieu that audiences were first treated to Hot Fuzz, the third directorial feature of Edgar Wright, and the second entry in his Cornetto Trilogy of buddy-centric genre parodies. I don’t know how general audiences reacted when this film came out, but it must have been a welcome shock to the system.
After putting his colleagues to shame with his stellar record, hyper-competent London police sergeant Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is sent away to rural Sandford, Gloucestershire. Initially repulsed by the parochial residents and lax policing, he finds an unlikely friend and partner in Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), an overeager devotee of shoot-em-up cop movies including, notably, Point Break and Bad Boys II. Although Angel is disdainful of cowboy antics, he soon finds himself in the action flick to end all action flicks when a conspiracy seems afoot and people in the village start dying mysterious, uncommonly gruesome deaths.
Once upon a time, action movies were looked down upon as pablum for the masses (an idea that filmmakers have occasionally played with). In 2007, when parody and genre tributes were either shallow, hateful, or cynically above-it-all, Hot Fuzz (and a couple of other films we’ll soon discuss) taught us how to mock with love for the first time since Mel Brooks was a hitmaker. Today, action movies are finally getting the respect they deserve (as long as they’re not remakes), making Hot Fuzz a prescient trendsetter, as well as a riotously funny, meticulously crafted, and often quite sweet action-comedy.
How Did It Do?
Hot Fuzz took in a cool $80.7 million against a $12 million budget. It was also a critical smash, earning a 91% fresh rating on RT. It’s since become a home movie staple and is often quoted in media. Wright, whose breakout Shawn of the Dead had yet to overshadow his work as a teenage directing prodigy in British television, was a name and a brand, and has used it wisely in the decade since.
Hot Fuzz wasn’t the only comedy in 2007 to handily tackle the subject of platonic male friendship. The other is one of my all-time favorite films. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Next Time: Beaufort