Few reviews have made Total Film’s postbag bulge as much as our three-star assessment of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s buddy cop follow-up to Shaun Of The Dead. Thing is, we like Hot Fuzz. We really do. But whereas screenings for Shaun... were attended more in hope than expectation, here anticipation was so high it was only likely to result in disappointment – and disappointment can sometimes come off as dislike. You’re always harder on the ones you love.
Not that audiences were generally hard on Hot Fuzz, which coined-in £21m at the UK box office, confirming the Spaced boys as major players. Still, do the gripes stand? Well, somewhat... The extras make it clear that Pegg and Wright made Hot Fuzz as a “celebration” of dumb action movies, but it feels caught between tribute, pastiche and parody. Self-consciousness can hobble ambitious Brit films and Wright makes a telling comment on the DVD: “All it said in the script [for this scene] was, ‘We see lots of flashcuts. It looks pretty cool for a British film.’”
On the flipside, criticism of the multiple climaxes kind of misses the point of the action lampoonery and Pegg’s exiled city cop shares typically terrific chemistry with Nick Frost’s country constable. Just as Shaun’s comedy was subtly powered by its slacker-hero’s quest for purpose, so Fuzz slyly pokes fun at the small-town small-mindedness of Middle England.