With Edgar Wright‘s newest film Baby Driver in cinemas, it’s a great time to either check out or re-watch Wright’s earlier films. As the director of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the so-called “Cornetto Trilogy” (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End), Wright has demonstrated a skillful eye for camera movement, a knack for clever editing, and a love of visual inventiveness. Hot Fuzz showcases all of those skills. The movie is about a cop in London named Nick Angel (Simon Pegg) who gets transferred to a very small town in the country because his superiors feel like he is showing up the rest of the precinct. In his new area, Angel is frustrated by the naivete and ineptitude of everyone around him. However, soon he and his new partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) begin to investigate a series of “accidents” that Angel suspects are actually murders.
Like the other two films in the Cornetto Trilogy, Wright and his filmmaking team (including co-writer Pegg) have dreamed up a genre movie that is half parody and half homage. Here, they send up the buddy cop formula but with sincere love for the movies that inspired their comedic version. There are incompetent superiors, car chases, violent murders, and a climactic shoot-out in the town square. All of the relevant boxes are checked.
The cast (including Wright regulars Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Rafe Spall, as well as Timothy Dalton and Jim Broadbent–cluelessly hilarious) is uniformly game, expertly walking the line between overplay and realism. The plot, while not the point, is still fun to watch unravel. Wright is a master at consistency of tone, simultaneously employing gags and well-earned intensity with equal measure without sacrificing credibility. Though Wright has seemingly graduated to bigger-budget crowd-pleasers, like the sleek and adrenaline-fueled Baby Driver, I certainly hope he will one day return to his Cornetto roots. So, if you’re looking for an exciting and funny movie, stream Hot Fuzz on Netflix tonight.