"Forget it, Nicholas. It's Sandford."
I've finally seen Hot Fuzz. If The Queen can be said to represent the Britons of two generations ago, then Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are definitely the voice for my generation. Here they've made a film of two halves: the first demonstrating why no British action films are made, and the second half being a British action film.
Both parts work well. The film starts out as an alternately quirky and atmospheric murder mystery/police procedural, as model London cop Nicholas Angel is reassigned to sleepy Sandford and resolves to get to the bottom of a series of mysterious (and gory) deaths - in between capturing escaped swans and picking the winners of a raffle at the church fête. At the same time, his naive partner Danny - played by the third portion of the Wright-Pegg-Frost trinity, Nick Frost - tries to draw out his human side, apparently under the illusion that Angel is some sort of gun-toting Chow Yun-Fat figure.
Of course, in the end, Angel discovers a threat that his Metropolitan Police Vocabulary Book (it's a car collision not a car accident, as the word 'accident' implies that no-one is to blame) can't handle, and he is forced to start blowing shit up as the movie changes track to 'action movie logic', where throwing yourself around firing wildly is the solution to any problem, and even the village vicar has a pair of spring-loaded pistols hidden up his sleeves.
I don't think that Hot Fuzz quite reaches the giddy heights of Shaun of the Dead, but it is a lean, good-looking film with a strong sense of humour and some real dramatic intensity to it. I can only look forward to Wright and Pegg's next collaboration - and dream of the day that this is the kind of British movie winning Oscars.