UK theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Music by||David Arnold|
|Editing by||Chris Dickens|
|Running time||121 minutes|
Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action crime comedy film directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, and co-written and starring Simon Pegg alongside Nick Frost. The three and the film's producer Nira Park had previously worked together on the television series Spaced and the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead. The film follows two police officers attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths in a small English village.
Over a hundred action films were used as inspiration for developing the script, which Wright and Pegg worked on together. Filming took place over eleven weeks in early 2006, and featured an extensive cast along with various uncredited cameos. Visual effects were developed by ten artists to expand on or add explosions, gore, and gunfire scenes.
Debuting on 14 February 2007 in the United Kingdom and 20 April in the United States, Hot Fuzz received wide acclaim with a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 81/100 from Metacritic. The total international box office gross reached $80,573,774 before its home media release. Shortly after the film's release, two different soundtracks were released in the UK and US.
The film is the second in Wright and Pegg's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and was preceded by 2004's Shaun of the Dead and followed by 2013's The World's End; each of them featuring a different flavour of Cornetto ice cream.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), an extremely dedicated police officer of the London Metropolitan Police Service, performs his duties so well that he is accused of making his colleagues look bad. His superiors transfer him to "crime-free" Sandford, a town in rural Gloucestershire. Angel is informed by the Inspector of the Sandford Police Service over the phone that his cottage is not ready yet and that he has to rent a hotel room until such time as it is. While at the local pub, Angel immediately arrests a large group of under-age drinkers, and a drunk driver who turns out to be his partner, PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), the son of local police inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). Danny, well-meaning but naive, is in awe of his new partner. Angel struggles to adjust to the slow, uneventful pace of the village. Despite clearing up several otherwise unnoticed crimes, including confiscating a naval mine and a number of unlicensed firearms, Angel soon finds his most pressing concern is an escaped swan. His attention to the letter of the law makes him the target of dislike and mockery by his co-workers. Angel and Danny eventually bond over drinks at the pub and action films at Danny's place such as (Point Break) and (Bad Boys II).
A series of gruesome deaths shock the town; Angel investigates, believing them to be murders. Angel supposedly convinces Danny and Inspector Butterman that he knows who committed the murders. Bringing all his colleagues with him, Angel attempts to arrest Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), the manager of the local Somerfield supermarket, and member of Sandford's Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA), under suspicion of murdering the victims due to their involvement in a lucrative property deal. Skinner is able to provide plausible explanations for all of Angel's charges, and a solid alibi. Disappointed and concerned that he has become paranoid, Angel returns to his routine policing with Danny. However, while buying ice cream at a shop, he overhears the shopkeeper inquire about the "killers". Angel realises that he was wrong in suspecting the murders to be the actions of one person. Angel tells Danny to drive them back to the police station, where he takes his multiple-killer theory to Inspector Butterman, who says that he has seen it before, where city police officers do not adjust to the slow paced life of Sandford, and then asks for Angel to sleep on it.
When Angel returns to his hotel room he is attacked by a cloaked figure. He knocks the attacker unconscious, discovering it is Michael Armstrong (Rory McCann), the trolley boy at Somerfield, sent by Skinner to kill Angel. Tipped off by Skinner on Michael's walkie-talkie, Angel heads to the nearby castle where he discovers the truth: Inspector Butterman and the NWA are obsessed with keeping Sandford's "Village of the Year" title, murdering anyone whom they see as a threat to the village's image, and staging the murders as accidents. The late Mrs. Butterman had put everything into helping Sandford win the first "Village of the Year", but travellers ruined the park the night before the judges arrived, driving her to suicide. While fleeing the mob, Angel falls into a tomb where he discovers the rotting bodies of various "problem" people whom the NWA had disposed of. Angel manages to escape the tomb, but then Danny corners and apparently stabs him. Having tricked the NWA into believing that Angel is dead, Danny drives him to the village limits and releases him, insisting that he knew nothing about their true activities. Danny urges Angel to go back to London, reasoning that no one would believe the truth.
At a motorway service station, Angel sees Point Break and Bad Boys II on a nearby DVD rack and is inspired to stop the NWA. He drives back to town and arms himself with the guns he confiscated earlier and, with Danny's help, engages the NWA in an increasingly destructive series of gun fights, taking down most of them non-fatally. After persuading their colleagues of the truth, Angel and Danny take the battle to Somerfield. Skinner and Inspector Butterman flee, and are pursued by Angel and Danny, who catch the swan en route, to the nearby model village. Angel fights Skinner one-on-one, until Skinner slips and impales his mouth on the spire of the miniature cathedral, injuring him. Inspector Butterman holds Danny hostage and attempts to escape in Angel's car, but crashes into a tree when the swan attacks him, and every member of the NWA is taken into custody.
Angel's former superiors arrive from London, begging him to return as the crime rate has risen without him, but Angel chooses to remain in Sandford. Back at the police station, Tom Weaver (Edward Woodward), the last remaining member of the NWA, attempts to shoot Angel with an antique blunderbuss, but Danny dives in front of Angel and takes the shot. Angel distracts Weaver, causing him to fall onto the confiscated sea mine, triggering it and destroying the station. Angel tears through the rubble, finding an unresponsive Danny.
One year later, Inspector Angel lays flowers on a grave marked "Butterman"; it is revealed that Danny has survived and the grave is his mother's. Danny is now a sergeant and Angel the head of the Sandford Police Service. The two head off to patrol Sandford.
- Sandford Police Service
- Simon Pegg as PC/Sgt./Insp. Nicholas Angel
- Nick Frost as PC/Sgt. Danny Butterman
- Jim Broadbent as Insp. Frank Butterman
- Paddy Considine as DS Andy Wainwright
- Rafe Spall as DC Andy Cartwright
- Kevin Eldon as Sgt. Tony Fisher
- Olivia Colman as PC Doris Thatcher
- Karl Johnson as PC Bob Walker
- Bill Bailey as the Sergeants Turner
- Sampson as Saxon
- Neighbourhood Watch Alliance
- Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner
- Edward Woodward as Prof. Tom Weaver
- Billie Whitelaw as Joyce Cooper
- Eric Mason as Major Bernard Cooper
- Stuart Wilson as Dr. Robin Hatcher
- Paul Freeman as Rev. Philip Shooter
- Kenneth Cranham as James Reaper
- Maria Charles as Mrs Reaper
- Peter Wight as Roy Porter
- Julia Deakin as Mary Porter
- Patricia Franklin as Annette Roper
- Lorraine Hilton as Amanda Paver
- Tim Barlow as Mr. Treacher
- Rory McCann as Michael Armstrong
- Trevor Nicholis as Greg Prosser
- Elizabeth Elvin as Sherri Prosser
- Metropolitan Police Service
- Martin Freeman as the Sergeant
- Steve Coogan (uncredited) as the Inspector
- Bill Nighy as the Ch. Insp. Kenneth
- Cate Blanchett (uncredited) as Janine
- Chris Waitt as Dave
- Edgar Wright (uncredited voice) as Dave
- Joe Cornish as Bob
- Robert Popper as "Not Janine"
- Sandford residents
- Stephen Merchant as Peter Ian Staker
- Alice Lowe as Tina
- David Bradley as Arthur Webley
- Anne Reid as Leslie Tiller
- Ben McKay as Peter Cocker
- Adam Buxton as Tim Messenger
- David Threlfall as Martin Blower
- Lucy Punch as Eve Draper
- Ron Cook as George Merchant
- Edgar Wright (uncredited) as Shelf Stacker
- Joseph McManners as Gabriel
- Rory McCann as Michael Armstrong
- Kevin and Nicholas Wilson as The Butcher Bros
While writing the script, the film's director and writer, Edgar Wright, as well as Pegg, intended to include Frost as the partner for Pegg's character. Frost revealed that he would do the film only if he could name his character, and he chose "Danny Butterman". Cast requirements included fifty people for speaking and non-speaking parts, and there were several casting calls for citizens of Wells, Somerset, to fill the roles, as the city was where most of the filming took place.
- British singer and actor Joseph McManners played a cameo role as a tearaway schoolboy, although his background story and an entire sub-plot surrounding his character were cut from the final version and can only be found within the DVD bonus features.
- Wright revealed in an interview that Cate Blanchett was given her cameo role as Janine, Angel's ex-girlfriend, as a result of her being a fan of Shaun of the Dead.
- Jim Broadbent similarly revealed his interest in Shaun and requested a role while meeting with Pegg at a BAFTA awards ceremony.
- Wright met with director Peter Jackson while he was filming King Kong, and Jackson suggested that he would be willing to do a cameo in the film. Edgar had Jackson wear a fake beard and pads to portray Father Christmas who stabs Angel in the opening montage.
- In the same opening montage, Garth Jennings can be seen as a drug dealer, with the audio commentary stating that Jennings and Wright had an agreement to have cameo appearances in each other's films.
Wright wanted to write and direct a cop film because "there isn't really any tradition of cop films in the UK... We felt that every other country in the world had its own tradition of great cop action films and we had none." Wright and Pegg spent eighteen months writing the script. The first draft took eight months to develop, and after watching 138 cop-related films for dialogue and plot ideas and conducting over fifty interviews with police officers for research, the script was completed after another nine months. The title was based on the various two-word titles of action films in the 1980s and 1990s. In one interview Wright declared that he "wanted to make a title that really had very little meaning...like Lethal Weapon and Point Break and Executive Decision." In the same interview, Pegg joked that many action films' titles "seem to be generated from two hats filled with adjectives and nouns and you just, 'Okay, that'll do.'" Pegg and Wright have referred to Hot Fuzz as being the second film in "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" with Shaun of the Dead as the first and The World's End as the third.
Preparation and filming
During the latter half of 2005, Working Title approached several towns in South West England looking for an appropriate filming location. Pegg commented, "We're both from the West Country so it just seemed like it was the perfect and logical thing to drag those kind of ideas and those genres and those clichés back to our beginnings to where we grew up, so you could see high-octane balls-to-the-wall action in Frome". Stow-on-the-Wold was considered amongst others, but after being turned away, the company settled upon Wells in Somerset, Wright's hometown, of which he has said "I love it but I also want to trash it". Wells Cathedral was digitally painted out of every shot of the village, as Wright wanted the Church of St. Cuthbert to be the centre building for the fictional town of Sandford; however, the Bishop's Palace is identifiable in some shots. Filming also took place at the Hendon Police College, including the driving school skid pan and athletic track. While shooting scenes in their uniforms, Pegg and Frost were often mistaken for genuine police officers and asked for directions by passers-by. Filming commenced on 19 March 2006 and lasted for eleven weeks. After editing, Wright ended up cutting half an hour of footage from the film.
Wright has said that Hot Fuzz takes elements from his final amateur film, Dead Right, which he described as both "Lethal Weapon set in Somerset" and "a Dirty Harry film in Somerset". He uses some of the same locations in both films, including the Somerfield supermarket, where he used to work as a shelf-stacker. In the scene in the Somerfield store, when Angel is confronting a chav for shoplifting, a DVD copy of Shaun of the Dead can be seen for a few frames. The title is Zombies' Party, the Spanish and Portuguese title for the film. Further homages to Shaun of the Dead are also present in the film.
In one scene, Nicholas wants to chase a shoplifter by jumping over garden fences; however, Danny is reluctant. Nicholas says, "What's the matter, Danny? You never taken a shortcut before?" He smiles arrogantly before jumping over three in a row (according to the DVD commentary, Pegg vaulted over three fences, and a stunt man did a back flip over the fourth). When Danny attempts it, he trips and falls through the fence. This is almost identical to a scene in Shaun of the Dead, including the fall-through-fence gag (in Shaun of the Dead, however, it happens to Pegg's character rather than Frost's, and he falls over the fence rather than through it). The DVD commentary says that Frost purposely looked back at the camera after crashing through the fence, to show that he had done the stunt rather than someone else.
Various scenes in Hot Fuzz feature a variety of action film DVDs such as Supercop and scenes from Point Break and Bad Boys II. Wright revealed that he had to get permission from every actor in each video clip, including stunt men, to use the clips and for the use of the DVD covers had to pay for the rights from the respective studios. The film parodies clichés used in other action movies. On the topic of perceived gun fetishes in these movies, Pegg has said, "Men can't do that thing, which is the greatest achievement of humankind, which is to make another human, so we make metal versions of our own penises and fire more bits of metal out of the end into people's heads... It's our turn to grab the gun by the hilt and fire it into your face." Despite this, Pegg maintains that the film is not a spoof, in that "They lack the sneer that a lot of parodies have that look down on their source material. Because we're looking up to it." The film also includes various references to The Wicker Man, in which Edward Woodward had played a policeman tough on law and order.
To illustrate the destruction of the mansion as a result of the gas explosion, gas mortars were placed in front of the building to create large-scale fireballs. The wave of fire engulfs the camera, and to achieve that effect, gas mortars were used again but were fired upwards into a black ceiling piece that sloped up towards the camera. When the sequence was shot at a high speed, the flames appeared to surge across the ground. For one of the final scenes of the film, the Sandford police station is destroyed by an explosion. Part of the explosion was created by using a set model that showed its windows being blown out, while the building remained intact. The actual destruction of the building was depicted by exploding a miniature model of the station.
Similar to the work in Shaun of the Dead, blood and gore was prevalent throughout the film. Visual effects supervisor Richard Briscoe revealed the rationale for using the large amounts of blood: "In many ways, the more extreme you make it, the more people know it is stylised and enjoy the humour inherent in how ridiculous it is. It's rather like the (eventually) limbless Black Knight in Monty Python's Holy Grail." The most time-consuming gore sequence involved a character's head being crushed by a section of a church. A dummy was used against a green screen and the head was detonated at the point when the object was about to impact the body. Throughout the film, over seventy gunfight shots were digitally augmented; Briscoe's rationale for adding the additional effects was that "The town square shootout, for example, is full of extra little hits scattered throughout, so that it feels like our hero characters really do have it all going off, all around them. It was a great demonstration of [how] seemingly very trivial enhancements can make a difference when combined across a sequence."
The first two teaser trailers were released on 16 October 2006. Wright, Pegg, and Frost maintained several video blogs, which were released at various times throughout the production of the film. Wright and Frost held a panel at the 2006 Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California to promote Hot Fuzz, which included preliminary footage and a question and answer session. The two returned to the convention again in 2007 to promote the US DVD release. Advance screenings of the film took place on 14 February 2007 in the UK and the world premiere was on 16 February 2007. The premiere included escorts from motorcycle police officers and the use of blue carpet instead of the traditional red carpet.
The film met with critical acclaim, and was rated as highly as Shaun of the Dead. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating with an average rating of 7.7/10 based on 198 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "The brilliant minds behind Shaun of the Dead successfully take a shot at the buddy cop genre with Hot Fuzz. The result is a bitingly satiric and hugely entertaining parody." It also has a Metacritic score of 81/100. Olly Richards of Empire said of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost: "After almost a decade together they’re clearly so comfortable in each other’s presence that they feel no need to fight for the punchline, making them terrific company for two hours". Johnny Vaughan of The Sun already called it the "most arresting Brit-com of 2007". Phillip French of The Observer, who did not care for Shaun of the Dead, warmed to the comedy team in this film. The film also received positive reviews stateside. Derek Elley of Variety praised Broadbent and Dalton as "especially good as Angel's hail-fellow-well-met superior and oily No. 1 suspect". As an homage to the genre, the film was well received by screenwriter Shane Black. On Spill.com, it got their 2nd-highest rating of 'Full Price!!'.
The Daily Mirror gave Hot Fuzz only 2/5, stating that "many of the jokes miss their target" as the film becomes more action-based. Daily Mail also shared The Mirror's view, saying, "It's the lack of any serious intent that means too much of it is desperately unamusing, and unamusingly desperate". Anthony Quinn of The Independent said, "The same impish spirit [as in Spaced] is uncorked here, but it has been fatally indulged".
The film generated £7.1 million in its first weekend of release in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2007. In the 20 April US opening weekend, the film grossed $5.8 million from only 825 cinemas, making it the highest per-cinema average of any film in the top ten that week. Its opening weekend take beat the $3.3 million opening weekend gross of Pegg and Wright's previous film, Shaun of the Dead. In its second weekend of release, Rogue Pictures expanded the film's cinema count from 825 to 1,272 and it grossed $4.9 million, representing a 17% dip in the gross. Altogether, Hot Fuzz grossed $80,573,774 worldwide. In nine weeks, the film earned nearly twice what Shaun of the Dead made in the US, and more than three times its gross in other countries.
The DVD was released on 11 June 2007 in the UK. Over one million DVDs were sold in the UK in the first four weeks of its release. The two-disc set contains the feature film with commentaries, outtakes, storyboards, deleted scenes, a making-of documentary, video blogs, featurettes, galleries, and some hidden easter eggs. The DVD also features Wright's last amateur film, Dead Right, which he described as "Hot Fuzz without the budget". Due to the above release date, the film arrived on region 2 DVD earlier than the theatrical release date in Germany on 14 June 2007. In the commentary with director Wright and fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, they discuss nearly 200 films.
The US DVD and HD DVD release was on 31 July 2007. It opened at #2 at the American DVD sales chart, selling 853,000 units for over $14m in revenue. As per the latest figures,1,923,000 units have been sold, acquiring revenue of $33.3 million. The HD DVD edition has more special features than the standard DVD release. A three-disc collector's edition was released on 27 November 2007 and a Blu-ray edition on 22 September 2009.
The soundtrack album, Hot Fuzz: Music from the Motion Picture, was released on 19 February 2007 in the United Kingdom, and on 17 April 2007 in the United States and Canada. The UK release contains 22 tracks, and the North American release has 14. The film's score is by British composer David Arnold, who has scored the James Bond film series since 1997. The soundtrack album's "Hot Fuzz Suite" is a compilation of excerpts from Arnold's score. According to the DVD commentary, the scenes where Nicholas Angel is at a convenience store, while leaving Sandford, and his return to the police station while arming for the final shootout (found in the track "Avenging Angel"), were scored by Robert Rodríguez, who did not see the rest of the film while writing the music.
Other music from the film is a mix of 1960s and 1970s British rock (The Kinks, T.Rex, The Move, The Sweet, The Troggs, Arthur Brown, Cloud 69, Cozy Powell, Dire Straits), New Wave (Adam Ant, XTC) and a Glaswegian indie band (The Fratellis). The soundtrack album features dialogue extracts by Pegg, Frost, and other cast members, mostly embedded in the music tracks. The song selection also includes some police-themed titles, including Supergrass' "Caught by the Fuzz" as well as "Here Come the Fuzz", which was specially composed for the film by Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion.
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- Hot Fuzz at the Internet Movie Database
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- The Director Interviews: Edgar Wright, Hot Fuzz at Filmmaker Magazine
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