A conspiracy of controlled chaos, parody played straight, and Timothy Dalton’s wonderfully odd turn as a sinister villain with a twinkle in his eye allow “Hot Fuzz” to be a genuinely smart yet silly film. This lampoon of the Hollywood cop action film leans more towards homage with sometimes subtle but nearly always dead-on verbal and visual references to both the good and ghastly action and suspense films, including “Mission Impossible II,” “Point Break,” “Chinatown” and “Bad Boys 2.” One might still call “Hot Fuzz” just another action comedy, but it’s a thoroughly good one that can stand up to many the better films of the genre.
While there easily recognized bits copied directly from “Point Break” and “Bad Boys 2” — both are explained to the audience by being shown within the film — film fans will have to keep a keen eye out for a good many subtle bits lifted from films such as the aforementioned “Chinatown” as well as “Men in Black,” “The Omen,” “The Shining,” “The Matrix,” etc. Let me know if you also sees a visual homage to “Mad Max.” (You can find more triva through a Google search.)
Though it all, a little bit of a very English plot, the gentle Englishness of a police force with no guns (normally), a barrage of film-geek jokes and simple nonsense yield a fun two-hour film that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a comedy. The action is well directed and the editing rather crisp, though it takes a bit too long to get to the action. But while we wait for the guns to blaze, Simon Pegg, who plays Nick Angel (a policeman working in London who is too good, making the rest of the Metropolitan Police look bad) and Nick Frost, who plays his partner Danny Butterman, entertain the audience with a natural rapport and comedic banter. And a wealth of good British actors in many of the supporting roles elevates rather than detracts from Mr. Pegg and Mr. Frost’s performance. If you enjoyed “Shaun of the Dead,” I daresay you will find “Hot Fuzz” to be a worthy follow up and pleasant way to spend a time in your local cinema.