Having made such an impression with the horror spoof 'Shaun of the Dead', director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have now decided to turn their attention to another genre with endless possibilities for sending up: the cop movie. And if you're one of the minority who couldn't understand the fuss about 'Shaun...' then you deserve to give the trio a second chance because, even though the script needed to be stronger in places, 'Hot Fuzz' is funnier, sharper and cooler than its predecessor.
Described by Pegg as "'Midsomer Murders' directed by Tony Scott", 'Hot Fuzz' is the story of Nicholas Angel (Pegg) the most decorated Police Constable in London. When Angel's arrest record - 400% higher than his colleagues' - becomes too much for the Met to bear, Angel gets a promotion to sergeant and a transfer to Sandford, the safest village in England.
Paired with the work-shy, action movie obsessed Danny Butterman (Frost), all Angel has to do now is accept that he needs to fall asleep for the next 25 years. The greatest threat in Sandford seems to be a 16-year-old having a shandy in the local pub; Angel's new colleagues, led by chummy Inspector Frank Butterman (Broadbent) – Danny's Dad - buy each other cake and ice cream when one of them messes up and there's a money box in the station for when anyone curses - with a sliding penalty scale.
But with every passing day Angel becomes more convinced that Sandford and the town's NWA, Neighbourhood Watch Alliance, are hiding something. Something very wicked. And soon it becomes apparent that the last thing he will die of is boredom.
Pegg's mastery of put upon and Frost's brilliance at playing the slob result here in one of the most memorable cop partnerships in years - far superior to their onscreen chemistry in the more-miss-than-hit 'Shaun of the Dead'. Whether it's lampooning ludicrous shootout sequences, British detective dramas or the homoeroticism of buddy movies, 'Hot Fuzz' guarantees that you'll start guffawing any time you sit down to watch 'The Bill' in future.
There are so many in-jokes, sight gags and nods to other films that it warrants (sorry) repeated viewing and the sight of the likes of Edward Woodward, Timothy Dalton and Jim Broadbent joining in the fun is a joy. There are even cameos by two other, in disguise Oscar winners – it's that kind of film.
While 'Shaun of the Dead' was a film that used up all its best material too soon, Wright and co-writer Pegg have learned their lesson and with 'Hot Fuzz' they save the best until last. Just when the film looks in increasing danger of fizzling out, the spirit of such classics as 'Point Break' and 'Bad Boys 2' is summoned for a high street showdown where the laughs on offer keep pace with the amount of ammunition used.
And just name the last time you saw a swan help save the day in an American action movie.