The second in our Cornetto Trilogy mini-marathon, Hot Fuzz has always felt like the standout success and, even with age, that definitely hasn't changed. Much like Shaun of the Dead, there are plenty of pop culture references, homages, and parodies, but where the script really shines is in the skewering of British-ness in general, which they dial up to 10 second time around. It's also got an equally fantastic cast, with Pegg and Frost obviously both brilliant, but the likes of Bill Bailey, Martin Freeman (are him and Rafe Spall the only actors other than the main stars to be in all three films?), Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Merchant, Rory McCann (the Hound, no less), Steve Coogan, Cate Blanchett, and even Olivia freakin' Coleman all making an appearance! (Also, wonderfully, the man who played Tinkie Winkie in the Teletubbies is an extra 😂)
But, what sets Hot Fuzz apart is just how incredibly entertaining it is inspite all of that amazing stuff. Yes, it has a brilliant cast, tight writing, excellent comedy, buckets of clever references, and even some excellent call backs to Shaun of the Dead, but beyond that it's also just really fun and original. Sure, it clearly pulls from Midsomer Murders-style shows, but the fact that the central individual is a cop rather than a detective skewers the WI murder mystery away from Poirot or Marple and towards something a bit more unique. And, yes, it borrows heavily from action films – becoming the least "horror" of the franchise as a result – but setting those explosive scenes in the West Country makes them feel unlike anything Hollywood (or even the BBC) have created before.
That inventiveness amps up the charm multiple times, resulting in an absolutely brilliant film that Wright and co would be hard pressed to ever top. I don't think there's a single bad beat or aged joke, the direction is perfect (with Wright having slightly refined his fast-pan camerawork to make it less obvious, somehow), the pacing can't be improved, and the end product is a genuine classic.