The Shaun of the Dead team reassembles three years later for Hot Fuzz (2007), a clever, assured action movie send-up that didn’t quite tickle my funny bone as much as its predecessor did. Having alienated the rest of the London police force with an impeccable record of excellence, legendary supercop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is promoted to sergeant — and reassigned to a small, backwater village called Sandford, where he won’t make his colleagues look so bad. There, teamed with dim bulb constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), he’s forced to readjust to life in a sleepy, crime-free town. But Angel can’t turn off his stringently lawful nature and inhuman police instincts, and when he senses connections underlying a series of grisly accidents, he suspects foul play. With Sandford’s ineffectual police force throwing obstacles in his path, Angel — dragging Butterman in his wake — leads a crusade to unravel the mystery beneath Sandford’s idyllic surface.
Director Edgar Wright, whose work typically bristles with comedic, visual energy, brings his usual skillset to the table in Hot Fuzz, which is confidently produced and well performed. But for some reason, this one didn’t win me over entirely. I found it amusing without being laugh-out-loud funny, entertaining without being wholly compelling. The script has some nice turns (“Forget it, Nicholas — it’s Sandford!”) and is generally well structured, but the climactic sequence runs a bit long. Everyone involved is in fine form, but in the end this one felt more like casual background viewing than Wright’s other movies.