Three years after taking the zombie genre to task with the instant
classic Shaun of the Dead, the team of director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost capture lightning in their mocking parody bottle again with Hot Fuzz.
A pitch-perfect send-up of over-the-top action films and buddy flicks alike, Hot Fuzz is packed with sharp wit and ridiculous laughs. The chemistry between the ultra-serious Nick Angel (Pegg) and the buffoonish Danny Butterman (Frost) utilizes the strengths of the actors even better than in Shaun of the Dead.
Angel is a London cop with an extraordinary arrest record and a dedication to the job that has rendered nearly all of his interpersonal relationships impotent. Compared to Angel's untiring work ethic, the rest of the London Police Department looks rather flat on its feet. So, Angel gets a promotion to sergeant — in the tiny, idyllic village of Sandford, courtesy of Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy in cameos as police officials.
Sandford is seemingly perfect, but Angel is determined to find crime wherever it lurks and is appalled by the lax atmosphere at the local station, where Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent) heads up a motley crew of officers that includes his son Danny.
Angel reluctantly accepts Danny as his partner, and Danny is absolutely in awe of a cop who's seen actual action, equating it with a slew of terrible action films that Angel is completely unaware of.
When people start dying in the peaceful village, most of the police force (excuse me, police service) assumes a series of unfortunate accidents, but Angel is intent on finding the murderer, with a delightfully evil Timothy Dalton as a grocery store manager at the center of the investigation.
Hot Fuzz works so well because it doesn't get caught up in its own cleverness or parody — it takes itself very seriously while simultaneously mocking the conventions of the genre. The incredibly sharp script and massively entertaining action sequences make for a film with excellent re-watchability value.
The Blu-ray Disc
Hot Fuzz is presented in 1080p high definition with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The slick, yet grounded visual approach to the film looks fantastic in this high def upgrade. The earthy tones of the town of Sandford look rich and sharply detailed, while splashes of color, such as yellow vests worn by the police officers in several scenes, leap off the screen. Contrast is particularly excellent — scenes that feature a good deal of shadow show great distinction between characters and their inky black surroundings. There is nary a complaint to be found about this visual presentation.
The audio, presented in a Dolby DTS-HD 5.1 mix, is similarly outstanding, with all channels getting a nice workout from the film. There's plenty of opportunity throughout for rumbling bass, but things really kick into gear in the final act of the film, when the over-the-top action reaches a fever pitch, and your sound system won't get much of a breather until the credits roll.
The Blu-ray release of Hot Fuzz is absolutely packed with extras, reprising what was included on the previously released three-disc DVD.
An amazing five commentary tracks are available — from Pegg and Wright, the actors who portrayed the Sandford Police Service, the actors who played the village inhabitants, a pair of real-life policemen, and Wright and Quentin Tarantino.
New features that were only available on the three-disc version include an hour-plus documentary about the press tour for the film featuring Wright, Pegg, and Frost, and several promotional video blogs for Volkswagen and iTunes.
Previous extras carried over from the standard release include a ton of deleted scenes, outtakes, a making-of doc, more video blogs, production featurettes, photo galleries, trailers and a 40-minute short film director Wright made in his teen years.
The Bottom Line
Hot Fuzz is so viscerally entertaining and so packed with jokes, it's hardly doing it justice to only watch it once or twice. This technically impressive and bonus-filled Blu-ray is by far the best way to own this film.