It is hard to believe that Spaced only lasted for 2 short seasons (1999-2001), it so completely captured the feelings of the period towards popular culture that it still remains a reference in its own right.
Even more hard to believe is that we had to wait until 2004's Shaun of the Dead to see the team of Wright, Pegg, Frost and friends reunited. Made for a mere $4 million its very British sense of humour managed to gross well in excess of 5 times that amount in the US and UK alone. Also a major hit on DVD we were guaranteed a follow up.
After toying with a direct sequel to Shaun the team instead went for lampooning their other favorite genre of action flicks.
I will admit that when I first heard about Hot Fuzz I wasn't completely sold on the idea. The best I could imagine would be a film version of the Bill with slightly knowing winks at the audience, but then I had faith in the dream team of Brit big screen comedy and so I, along with many, waited.
Ignoring the joke of releasing a film like this on Valentines day, the humour and parody kick in almost immediately with a wink to Infernal Affairs, or should that be The Departed (slight aside, is it just me or is it most indicative of the current state of films that a remake of a 5 year old film gets nominated for 5 Oscars!).
All the way through the jokes are well crafted, with many of them relying on the impeccable comic timing of the players. The players which represent a who's who of British comedy (I'm sure it wasn't a lack of talent that required one person to take on 2 roles) and all play their parts wonderfully. Even better is to see Ewar Woowoo on the big screen, thinking that to myself gave me a laugh out loud moment which no one else in the packed cinema seemed to understand.
The film neatly breaks down into two distinct parts. The first 3/4 is all setup, introducing main characters and numerous support roles, as well as the mystery to be solved. Then you get an almost completely different film for the last 1/4 which I am sure you can guess is the major action set piece. A formula pulled right from the action film play book that Michael Bay takes to bed each night (okay he misplaced it while making Pearl Harbour and The Island).
Frost and Pegg are suitably well paired again, but it is interesting to see that they can play a subtly different dynamic, at least for a while. There is a moment on a sofa where I really thought the duo would manage to show us something other than Tim and Mike, but alas it was not to be. Still I would much rather watch 2 hours of Tim and Mike than most of what else was on offer on the other screens that night.
It is easy to sum up Hot Fuzz, if you liked Shaun or Spaced then you will love this, if you didn't you won't. Where the team of Wright/Pegg/Frost go next is any one's guess, I just hope that it is something a little different, but just as good as where they have been before.