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Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British action comedy film written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. The three had previously worked together on the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead as well as the television series Spaced. The film was directed by Wright and produced by Nira Park, and follows two police officers attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths in a small 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 explosive, gore, and gunfire scenes. Prior to the film's release it was promoted on video blogs during the production as well as at a San Diego Comic-Con panel.

Debuting on 14 February 2007 in the United Kingdom and 20 April in the United States, Hot Fuzz received mostly positive reviews, earning a 90% 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 referred to as the second in Wright, Pegg, and Frost's "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy", with Shaun of the Dead being the first, and The World's End as the third.

Plot

Nicholas Angel, an extremely dedicated police officer in Londonmarker's Metropolitan Police Service, performs his duties so well that he is accused of making his colleagues look bad. As a result, his superiors transfer him to crime-free Sandford, a village in rural Gloucestershiremarker. Once there, he immediately arrests a large group of underage drinkers, and a drunk driver who turns out to be his eventual partner, Danny Butterman, the son of local police inspector Frank Butterman. Danny, a well-meaning but naive police constable, 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 in short order, including confiscating a sea mine and a large number of unlicensed firearms, Angel soon finds his most pressing concern to be an escaped swan. His strict attention to the letter of the law also makes him the focus of dislike by some of his co-workers. However, Angel and Danny eventually bond over drinks at the local pub and action films.

A series of gruesome deaths rock the village and all are labelled as accidents. Angel, believing the deaths to be murders, begins to investigate. He arrests Simon Skinner, the manager of the local Somerfield supermarket, 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 goes free.

When Angel returns to his hotel room and is attacked by a cloaked figure, he knocks the attacker unconscious, discovering it is the trolley boy at Skinner's supermarket, sent by Skinner. Angel heads to a nearby castle where he discovers the truth: Skinner, Inspector Butterman, and the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA), intent on keeping Sandford's title of "Village of the Year", have been murdering anyone who they saw as a threat to the village's charming image. As Angel flees, he discovers the bodies of various people disposed of by the NWA, and escapes with the assistance of Danny.

Angel decides to return to the village where he arms himself with the confiscated firearms. After Angel meets with Danny in the village, the two begin to dispatch the members of the NWA in a series of gun fights. Confronted by their colleagues, who are quickly persuaded of the truth, Angel and Danny take the battle to the supermarket. Skinner and Inspector Butterman flee, and are pursued by Angel and Danny to a nearby miniature park. There, Angel battles Skinner, who accidentally impales his jaw on the spire of the miniature cathedral. Inspector Butterman attempts to escape in a car, but crashes into a tree when the missing swan attacks him from the back seat.

Angel's former superiors arrive from London, begging him to return, as crime has risen dramatically without him, but Angel chooses to remain in Sandford. Back at the police station, Tom Weaver, the last remaining member of the NWA, attempts to shoot Angel, but Danny shields Angel and takes the shot. In the resulting chaos, the confiscated sea mine is triggered and the station is destroyed. One year later, 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, and the two head off to patrol Sandford.

Cast

Sandford Police Service


Neighbourhood Watch Alliance


Metropolitan Police Service


London residents


Sandford residents


While writing the script, the film's director and writer, Edgar Wright, as well as Simon Pegg, intended to include Nick Frost as the partner for Pegg's character. Frost revealed that he would only do the film 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 Wellsmarker to fill the roles, as the city was where most of the filming took place.

Cameos

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. Stephen Merchant also makes an appearance as one of the village's residents. Wright revealed in an interview that Cate Blanchett was given her cameo role 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 Simon 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 Garth and Edgar Wright had an agreement to have cameo appearances in each other's films. Paul Freeman, Billie Whitelaw, and Kenneth Cranham all appear as members of the NWA. Sir Ian Holm appears as a paramedic treating Timothy Dalton in the aftermath of the model village scheme.

Production

Script

Wright decided that he 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 Simon 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 90s. 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 when the many action films' titles were chosen that "...all those 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 their "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy" with Shaun of the Dead as the first and the future project The World's End as the third.

Preparation and filming

Simon Pegg filming in Wells
To prepare for their roles in the film, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost had to follow certain requirements. Pegg's contract stated that he had to adopt a strict diet and use three personal trainers to prepare him for the physically demanding scenes in the film. Frost was asked by Wright and Pegg to watch around twenty action films to warm him up for his role as a police officer, but he decided to only watch Bad Boys II.

During the latter half of 2005, Working Title approached several towns in South West England looking for an appropriate filming location. Simon 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 Fromemarker". Stow-on-the-Woldmarker was considered amongst others, but after being turned away, the company settled upon Wellsmarker, Wright's hometown. Wright has commented "and Wells is very picturesque...I love it but I also want to trash it". The Wells Cathedralmarker 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 Palacemarker is identifiable in some shots. Filming also took place at the Hendon Police Collegemarker, including the driving school skid pan and athletic track. 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.

Homage

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 Spanishmarker and Portuguesemarker title for the film.

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 peoples 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, here playing a major villain, had played a policeman tough on law and order.

Effects

Ten artists were used to develop the visual effects for the film. 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 cathedral. 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."

Promotion

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 Diegomarker, Californiamarker 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. Advanced 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.

Release

Critical reception

The film received many positive reviews, and was rated as highly as Shaun of the Dead. It has a 90% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a Metacritic score of 81/100, which indicates "universal acclaim". 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, "[who] are 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.

The Daily Mirror only gave Hot Fuzz 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 that "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 Spaced] is uncorked here, but it has been fatally indulged".

Box office

The film generated £7.1 million in its first weekend of release in the UK on 14 February 2007. In the 20 April US opening weekend, the film grossed $5.8 million from only 825 theatres, making it the highest per-theatre 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 theater 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.

Home media

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 Edgar Wright and fellow filmmaker Quentin Tarantino they discuss nearly 200 films.

The US DVD and HD DVD release of Hot Fuzz came out on 31 July 2007. 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.

Soundtrack

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.

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), New Wave (Adam Ant, XTC) and UK and American indie (The Fratellis, Eels). The soundtrack album features dialogue extracts by Simon Pegg, Nick 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 especially composed for the film by Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion.

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