The team behind Shaun of the Dead returns to do a send-up of American Action-Buddy-Cop movies with their trademark British Twist: the slower pace of life in the English countryside, their slang, their mindset, etc. It translates just fine so nobody needs a tutorial on the UK or a crash course through BBC America to understand it.
Simon Pegg stars as Constable Nicholas Angel, the ultimate British police officer according to his service record: his efficiency, his eye for detail, his good demeanor with the public, his arrest record and his skills. Angel is the ultimate patrol officer, not an American Super-Cop like Martin Riggs, John McClane, ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan or Marion ‘Cobra’ Cobretti. For years he has been stationed with the Metro London division until he is injured in the line of duty. As a reward for all his service, he is promoted to Sergeant with the condition of being re-assigned to the sleepy village of Sanford (doesn’t exist, I checked). He can’t stay in London or reject the promotion according to the Chief Inspector, who bluntly explains that he’s being sent to the country because he makes the rest of them look bad. Tail tucked between his legs, Angel leaves for Sanford to make the best of it. Too bad the only ally he has is the incompetent, overweight and action-flick addicted Constable Butterman—the Inspector’s son too equivalent to being the local police chief in the US).
If you’ve seen the commercials and trailers, you know what follows. Sanford is a village with no violent crime yet people die in rather grisly accidents that rouse Angel’s suspicion. The movie is genuinely funny and it works for me through its subtleness as well as the overt parodies. There’s also a surprise twist in the conspiracy to address what did seem to be a predictable plot. The ending does run a bit long and is a tad hokey but it doesn’t ruin the overall experience. Timothy Dalton is really humorous as the grocery store operator who speaks in murderous double entendres. One quick warning; if anyone who wants to see it is squeamish over blood and gore, then don’t see this movie because some of the “accidents” were rather graphic. Not vomit-inducing Slasher-flick graphic by today’s standards, more at the Grindhouse level. There’s also frequent rapid-fire sequences to demonstrate how efficient Angel is with his paperwork. My guess is it represents how his mind works and how he experiences the world because he believes “there’s always something going on, so pay attention.”
Another great job by the Shaun crew. Not sure what they may do next. Hot Fuzz isn’t raking in too much right now despite it probably costing less compared to American pictures. It’ll probably be a bigger hit on DVD as its predecessor and when it does arrive at Blockbuster, Hollywood, etc.; put it on your short list.