I don’t have much time for British school of MTV-style filmmaking best represented by Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). It just strikes me as trying too hard to be cool. Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead clearly falls into this school, but it actually uses its camera tricks to create an exciting experience for view and to help tell the story. Wright’s follow up, also with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost was bound to be good, and when I finally got around to watching it, it was.
Shaun of the Dead worked well as a story on its own, but also functioned as a parody of the zombie and romantic comedy genres. Hot Fuzz takes on the action film genre—Wright and co-writer Simon Pegg read a list of action film clichés in a book by Roger Ebert and found a way to insert every single one of them into their script. I rarely see action films and probably missed all of them. But this is probably not a parody in that Wright and Pegg doen’t seem to look down at the genre. It is more of a homage. It is interesting to see the cop buddy genre transplanted to England. Wright has said “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.”
The insularity of small British towns, which I know well from TV shows such as “The League of Gentlemen” is a major part of the story, and it is fun to listen to the West Country accents after Pegg’s character, a top cop in London, is sent out to a village in rural Gloucestershire to keep him from making everyone else on the force look bad.