This is a short one (it was originally offered as part of a set of capsule reviews), but it represents the first time I wrote about an Edgar Wright movie. In part because of the hit-and-run nature of the review, I didn’t write about his direction much. Truthfully, it wasn’t until Wright’s next film that his visual acumen and storytelling ingenuity really started to dazzle me. While I will elaborate in a few days, I’ll promptly acknowledge that I’m revisiting this particular piece because Wright has just delivered what I’m confident will shake out as one of the best films of 2017. This piece was originally posted in my former online home.
With Hot Fuzz, it’s no surprise that the team of writer/actor Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright have crafted a follow-up to Shaun of the Dead that’s just as giddily engaging as their comic zombie romp. It is, however, a little startling to discover how good Pegg is at playing a wildly different character than his layabout hero Shaun. Here he’s Nicholas Angel, a cop whose tremendous track record proves to be a curve-wrecker in his big-city precinct and lands him a reassignment to a seemingly quiet provincial community. Naturally, the sedate surroundings are a falsehood and Angel finds himself plunged into an adventure more rough-and-tumble than anything he’s encountered before. The screenplay is wonderfully constructed with sly details paying off beautifully in a third act that expertly mocks Hollywood action movies while gleefully reveling in their excess. It’s a high-wire act with blazing guns and demonstrates a creativity that the studio folks on this side of the big pond should envy.