Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Music by||David Arnold|
|Edited by||Chris Dickens|
|Running time||121 minutes|
Hot Fuzz is a 2007 action comedy film directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, and co-written by 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. 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.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 4 Promotion
- 5 Release
- 6 Soundtrack
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Police Constable Nicholas Angel, a dedicated member of the Metropolitan Police Service, is promoted to Sergeant and transferred to the quiet village of Sandford, Gloucestershire, for making his colleagues look bad by comparison. Arriving at Sandford, Angel immediately arrests a group of under-age drinkers and a drunk driver, to the distaste of the locals. Discovering the drunk driver is his partner, PC Danny Butterman, Angel learns from Chief Inspector Frank Butterman (Danny's father) that the village's few crimes are rarely punished. Meeting with the local Neighbourhood Watch Alliance, Angel finds their concerns primarily involve the "Village of the Year" award.
Actors Martin Blower and Eve Draper, whom Angel previously stopped for speeding, are murdered by a hooded assailant, and their corpses posed to look like a traffic accident. Angel is unconvinced by the scene, which earns him criticism from his colleagues. He then clears up several minor crimes, including confiscating a shed full of unlicensed firearms (along with a naval mine) and pursuing an escaped swan, only to again become distracted when businessman George Merchant is murdered in a gas explosion. When the department labels the death as another accident, Angel is contacted by journalist Tim Messenger, who claims to have information. Before Angel can meet with him, though, a hooded figure fatally crushes Messenger by pushing a spire off the church roof onto his head.
Finally entertaining Angel's serial killer theory, Frank has the department investigate the deaths. Searching for leads, Angel speaks with florist Leslie Tiller, who unknowingly connects the victims by a property deal. Collecting his notebook from his car, Angel returns to witness Tiller being murdered by the hooded figure with shears. Angel pursues the figure, who is injured but escapes. Angel leads the force to the local supermarket, where he accuses manager and NWA member Simon Skinner of the murders. While admitting to the connection, Skinner holds a solid alibi and is unharmed like Tiller's murderer, unravelling Angel's theory.
Later overhearing a shopkeeper mistakenly ask about finding the "killers", Angel realizes that a group of killers damages Skinner's alibi, and he brings this idea to Frank. Asked to sleep on his new theory, Angel returns to his hotel room, but is attacked by a cloaked figure; knocking the attacker unconscious, he learns it is supermarket employee Michael Armstrong, sent by Skinner. Learning Skinner is at the village castle, Angel arrives and discovers the village's secret: the Sandford NWA is a secret cult led by Frank, who commit murders (which they cover up as "accidents") to remain "Village of the Year". The group killed Blower, Draper, Merchant, and Messenger because their work harmed the village's image, and murdered NWA member Tiller as she was moving her business to another village.
Chased from the castle, Angel then discovers the bodies of various "problem" people who the NWA disposed of before being cornered and stabbed by Danny. Disposing of Angel's body, Danny is revealed to have faked Angel's stabbing, and releases him at the village limits. Claiming ignorance to the murders, Danny begs Angel to go back to London as nobody will believe the truth. Initially leaving to London, Angel returns to Sandford, arming himself with the station's confiscated guns. Angel, with Danny's help, fights and non-fatally wounds most of the NWA, before the duo persuade their colleagues of the truth. Pursuing Skinner and Frank, they capture the escaped swan en route, before cornering and fighting Skinner on a model of the village. After Skinner slips and impales himself on the miniature cathedral spire, Frank flees in Angel's car, only to crash into a tree when the swan attacks him. He and the NWA members involved are arrested.
London's Chief Inspector asks Angel to return to his old post as crime rates have risen in the city, but Angel declines the offer. While he and his colleagues are processing paperwork, Tom Weaver - the only NWA member who has not been arrested - barges in and attempts to shoot Angel with an antique blunderbuss. When Danny takes the shot for Angel, he strikes Weaver with a waste bin, sending him reeling into the confiscated naval mine, which detonates and destroys the station. Searching through the station's rubble, Angel finds and comforts an unresponsive Danny. One year later, Danny is revealed to have survived; the two have received promotions for their work and are now in charge of the Sandford Police Department.
Sandford Police Service
- Simon Pegg as PC Sgt. Insp. Nicholas "Nick" Angel
- Nick Frost as PC Sgt. Danny Butterman
- Jim Broadbent as Insp. Frank Butterman
- Paddy Considine as Det. Sgt. Andy Wainwright
- Rafe Spall as Det. Cst. Andy Cartwright
- Kevin Eldon as Sgt. Tony Fisher
- Olivia Colman as PC Doris Thatcher
- Karl Johnson as PC Bob Walker
- Bill Bailey as The Brothers Turner
Neighbourhood Watch Alliance and Associates
- Timothy Dalton as Simon Skinner
- Edward Woodward as Prof. Tom Weaver
- Billie Whitelaw as Joyce Cooper
- Eric Mason as Maj. Bernard Cooper
- Stuart Wilson as Dr. Robin Hatcher
- Paul Freeman as Rev. Philip Shooter
- Rory McCann as Michael "Lurch" Armstrong
- 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
- 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
- Stephen Merchant as Peter Ian Staker
- Edgar Wright (uncredited) as Shelf Stacker
- Martin Freeman as Met Sgt.
- Steve Coogan (uncredited) as Met Insp.
- Bill Nighy as Met Ch. Insp.
- Peter Jackson (uncredited) as a Thief Dressed as Santa
- Cate Blanchett (uncredited) as Janine
- Garth Jennings (uncredited) as a Crack Addict
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.
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 [Pegg and Wright] 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 positive reviews, 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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