Overview: Cornetto Day continues with Edgar Wright’s second installment of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, Hot Fuzz. Universal Pictures; 2007; Rated R; 121 minutes.
Blood and Ice Cream: After the release of an undisputed comedic masterpiece, the world eagerly awaited what Edgar Wright would use to solidify his status as the best comedy director working today. Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy are all standalone films; however, there is a thematic line of growth. Shaun of the Dead is about a boy – in a man’s body – becoming a man. Hot Fuzz is about that man who learns to tone down his workaholic ideologies and embrace the simpler aspects of life. What better way to explore the simpler aspects of life than through the lens of a buddy cop action film?
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost don’t get enough credit for their comedic works. Pegg stars as Sgt. Nicholas Angel, a perfect cop who has an arrest record 400% higher than any other officer. In a total 180 flip from Shaun, Angel has been successful in his work life and is the quintessential perfect cop. His only problem is that he can’t maintain a human connection; all he has is his Japanese Peace Lily. Nick Frost’s Danny Butterman is the complete opposite. All he wants is to be a heroic cop like John McClane in Die Hard or Riggs in Lethal Weapon. When Angel is reassigned from London to the small town of Sandford, Danny tries eagerly to impress the police hero. Through Danny’s earnest teachings, Angel learns how to connect with more than just his plant (it’s a Japanese Peace Lily), and Danny learns to be a better police officer. The camaraderie between Pegg and Frost is as strong as ever. Even though Hot Fuzz was filmed three years after Shaun of The Dead, looking back, for the two to maintain this staggering chemistry is nothing short of beautiful.
The greatest trick the movie offers is the mystery of the true villain. There’s an obvious villain to pull from, but Wright tips his hand just enough to simultaneously misdirect and show his cards. If you can figure out the villain on your first viewing, you’ll earn my praise and skepticism.
More Than a Parody: The true beauty of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy is simple, but the execution is nothing short of extraordinary. Listening to Edgar Wright’s commentary on Hot Fuzz (with Quentin Tarantino!), it’s clear that he loves movies. All movies — from the crap to the brilliant. They’ve all influenced him in some way. So when I hear people call this trilogy a “parody” of their genres, I usually have to butt in and elaborate on why they have made such an impact. While they take time to reference previous films in their respective genres, they do much more. They also tell stories of their own.