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Video Reviews

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Action/Adventure
Cast
Simon Pegg as Sergeant Nicholas Angel; Nick Frost as Police Chief Danny Butterman; Jim Broadbent as Inspector Frank Butterman; Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner
Director
Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead)
Distributor
Rogue Pictures
Reviewer
Bob Hoose
Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

Nicholas Angel was made for police work. He shoots right to the top of his class at the Academy and soon becomes an exemplary officer. So exemplary, in fact, that he makes everyone else look bad. So his superiors ship him off to the sleepy little village of Sandford.

The English country folk are somewhat more laidback than the go-get-'em cop. Police Chief Butterman appreciates his dedication, but suggests he slow his pace to avoid a nervous breakdown. Nick's only supporter is the police chief's son, Danny, a lazy, junk-foodaholic cop who's excited about partnering with the newcomer and wants to know about all his exploits in London. Danny isn't much of an officer, but he has been inspired by hundreds of action movies such as Point Break and Bad Boys II, and he dreams of leaping into action, dispensing bullets and witty repartee.

Nick keeps a sharp eye out, but chasing an escaped swan seems to be the only action in the sleepy burg. Then people start dying in grisly accidents. And the sleuthing sergeant realizes that Sandford may have the lowest crime and murder rates in the country, but its "accidental" death rate is off the charts.

Positive Elements

Nick is a dedicated officer who goes out of his way to follow the rule of law and do what's right. At one point a man is threatening people with a pistol and Nick uses his body to shield a young boy. While failing at general police work, Danny proves himself to be a good friend. When Nick is being fired upon, Danny steps out of a place of safety and runs to fight by his friend's side. He also dives in front of Nick and takes a gun blast for him.

Spiritual Content

Whenever the police officers use foul language around the station house, they are required to drop a coin in the "swear box." The proceeds are donated to the local church. The town holds a public raffle to help pay for a new church roof. Nick is asked to speak at church but he demurs because of his lack of belief. A killer dresses in a cloaked druid's robe. Several town members also dress in these same robes and chant in Latin. The reverend pulls a gun, shoots a man, swears and profanes Jesus' name.

Sexual Content

It is implied that Doris, the sole female on the Sandford force, is sexually promiscuous. (She makes a number of wisecracks to that effect.) Doris also makes a few off-color comments about some of the accident victims, motivating an older officer to blurt out crude sexual remarks.

Beyond showing a little cleavage, Doris wears a formed plastic top to a party that looks like bare breasts. The local store owner mentions that his assistant moonlights as a table dancer. Two actors kiss in a stage play and later in their dressing room.

Violent Content

Hot Fuzz uses over-the-top violence as a way to elicit laughs. And in doing so, soaks audiences with gory, intensely bloody scenes that appear very realistic. When a peaked piece of masonry is broken off the roof of an old church and dropped to the ground below, it falls point-first and obliterates the head of a man, driving all the way down through his neck and into his upper body. Likewise, another unfortunate soul falls on a model of a church, and the spire drives up through his chin and sticks out through his mouth. (He talks with it jammed there.)

A woman is stabbed in the chest with garden shears and staggers about spurting blood. A man and woman are decapitated with an axe and we see their heads lying in the road. A man is hit in the head and his house is blown up (tossing his charred remains into the street). Nick jumps over a fence to stop an old woman who's trying to shoot him. He kicks her in the face and she falls backward. (We see her later with a bloody face.) A large man batters and bloodies Nick, throwing him around a bedroom and through the aisles of a store. Nick hits a kid in the head with a can of spray paint. Danny accidentally shoots a man at a carnival with an air gun. Nick holds a large knife to a man's throat. A man is shot in the foot when a shotgun hits the ground and discharges.

[Spoiler Warning] A battle breaks out in the streets of Sandford with thunderous shots and explosions. Nick and Danny jump in and out of cover with guns blazing. Bullets destroy building fronts and interiors, shatter store cases and blow out windows. Several people are shot and wounded.

Danny fakes poking his eye out with a fork and uses ketchup to simulate blood.

Crude or Profane Language

Over 20 f-words (including at least one use of "m-----f---er") and about 10 s-words are scattered throughout the film along with a handful of other profanities such as "a--," "d--n" and "h---." Obscene slang (the strongest terms possible) are assigned to sex acts as well as male and female body parts. Jesus' name is profaned.

Drug and Alcohol Content

All of the Sandford police officers, at one time or another, drink wine or pints of beer in the local pub. Nick and Danny become inebriated. Danny almost backs his vehicle over Nick while driving drunk. A drunken man falls down and then stumbles away from the bar to urinate in the corner of the room. Nick mentions an uncle who sold drugs to children. Officers smoke in several scenes.

Other Negative Elements

Nick breaks up with a woman at the beginning of the movie, but it's never revealed if the two were married.

Conclusion

Hot Fuzz was created by the same team that gave birth (and living death) to the zombie-flick spoof, Shaun of the Dead. This time around, they grab their .44 Magnums and take aim at the American buddy-cop genre.

Fuzz adopts a straight-faced approach to movie formula, in-jokes and clich├ęs worthy of a suitcase full of action movies. But it aims higher (or lower, depending on your perspective) than the broad goofy slapstick that we've become accustomed to from genre spoofs. This pic is as much a homage to American action flicks as it is a spoof, blending dry British wit with heavy, kick-to-the-face, fall-sideways-while-unloading-your-automatic-weapon action.

That high-powered tip of the hat (which reveals a smirk underneath) also includes excessive and outrageous gore, as mentioned earlier. The filmmakers try to use the unexpectedly vicious bloodletting as a humorous device, but you're too busy grimacing to smile. And unlike Shaun of the Dead, which at least offered viewers some sort of metaphorical subtext to consider in between splatters, Hot Fuzz appears to be all about assault.

In our current cultural environment of daily newscasts devoted to body counts and campus gunmen, do we really need another reason to wince? Another reason to wonder whether or not violent entertainment aids and abets real-life tragedies?

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