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"You wanna be a big cop in a small town? Fuck off up the model village."
Nicholas Angel is the top London bobby who pretty much single-handedly keeps crime down. He is, in the words of his former girlfriend Janine (an uncredited and heavily disguised Cate Blanchett), incapable of "switching off". His superiors think he is doing too good a job, making the rest of the Met look bad, so they promote him out of the way and make him a sergeant in the sleepy town of Sandford, Gloucestershire. Sandford is the winner of the Best Village In Britain award for several years running; a village renowned for having no crime... but many accidents. Being set in The West Country means all the typical stereotypes of that region are present, such as thick Somerset accents, farmer folk, tweed and wellies and some good old "Oo-ars!"
Nick doesn't fit in at all. His duties are extremely banal, he immediately clashes with the laid-back cops there, and he is saddled with Danny Butterman, a rather fat young police officer who desperately wants to be a Cowboy Cop like in the movies (in Bad Boys II and Point Break, to be precise).
Then a series of grisly incidents occur, leading Angel to suspect foul play.
Written by Edgar Wright (who directed), starring Simon Pegg (who co-wrote) and co-starring Nick Frost (who plays Danny), this is a top-notch comedy action thriller that references plenty of tropes and ends up using them in the brilliant final act, which is possibly the most epic fight scene ever seen in a comedy, after Nicholas specifically says how wrong they are. It's also filled to the brim with Ho Yay — to the point where the creators indulged in writing slashfic on Twitter a while later, just to toy with the characters some more.
Second part of Wright's planned "Three Colours Cornetto" trilogy, preceded by Shaun of the Dead and followed by the yet-to-be-made World's End.
Compare The Other Guys.
This film contains examples of:
- The Ace: Nicholas is actually a Deconstruction of this trope, being an insufferable workaholic who annoys everyone with Insistent Terminology and who makes the rest of the London Service look bad. It's reconstructed later on.
- Acting for Two: Bill Bailey playing both Sgt. Turners
- Affably Evil: Chief Inspector Butterman and Simon Skinner.
- Before the NWA begin their nightime meeting, they had to make a quick announcement- a couple in the town had named their new born children, and they were all invited to the Christening. Arguably Faux Affably Evil in terms of what they do, however.
- Affectionate Parody: Of both slasher films and buddy cop/action films.
- Agony of the Feet: Alas, poor Doctor Hatcher. You can even see a toe flying away.
- He's a doctor. He'll deal with it.
- Yeah, motherfucker.
- He's a doctor. He'll deal with it.
- All Work vs. All Play: Nicholas is All Work and Danny and the rest of the station are All Play, until the shit hits the fan.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: "Model Villages" are not entirely uncommon in small British towns, and would almost be a requirement for a place trying to win "Village of the Year".
- Also, Nicholas Angel is a real name. It's the name of the film's music supervisor.
- Always Identical Twins: The Sgt. Turners (although Nick doesn't know it 'til the end of the film)
- Annoying Laugh: Played straight as multiple characters points out that Eve Draper has an annoying laugh, so much so that the NWA kills her because of it.
- Aside Glance: A particularly funny one, too. At the pub scene just before the second "accident", Timothy Dalton accidentally looks straight down the barrel of the camera. The director loved it so much, he put in the sound of a cash register to accompany it.
- A-Team Firing: To quote the trivia track:
"Action movie lore dictates that the ratio of bullets expended to targets hit is always disproportionately high."
"The A-Team were hamstrung by their inability to hit people."
- Artistic License Gun Safety: Nick Angel sure demonstrates atrocious gun safety for an uber-competent cop. The rest of the cops are no better. Intentional, given the subject parody matter.
- Even funnier when one pauses certain parts of gun battles. One of the cops closes one eye while aiming, but the eye that's closed is the one that's supposed to be looking down the sights.
- Authentication by Newspaper: You can barely see a still of Simon Skinner posing with a newspaper on the security footage he gives to Sergeant Angel as his alibi.
- Badass Bandolier: Nicholas wears one in the final shootout.
- Badass Driver: Nick improved his skill base with courses in advanced driving and advanced cycling. These skills (at least the first ones) come in very handy later, as he is embroiled in several high-speed car chases. Danny later gets in on the act after constantly irritating Angel with questions about high-speed chases.
- Badass Grandpa: The NWA.
- Badass Moustache: Both the Andys though Paddy Considine's is truly spectacular. Timothy Dalton has a pencil thin, evil variation which is completely awesome.
- Badass Preacher: Reverend Shooter has two derringers packed in his cassock sleeves, and is the second to actually harm Angel, who, so far, has only been hit once in the shoulder by the villains.
- Bad Bad Acting: The Romeo and Juliet tribute. The reason why the leading actors involved are killed.
- Bad Guy Bar: Subverted, and played straight - the pub owners are evil. Everyone else who isn't Skinner there isn't... and eventually dead.
- Bad Santa: The appropriately-named Nicholas is stabbed by an evil Father Christmas (played by Peter Jackson).
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rev. Shooter tries to talk Angel down then shoots him.
- Pretty much everyone in the NWA, minus Obviously Evil Skinner.
- By-The-Book Cop: Nick... even after he becomes a Cowboy Cop.
- Bond One-Liner:
- Not just used, but lampshaded:
Danny Butterman: How's Lurch?
- Book Ends: "I kinda like it here."
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted, guns are constantly being shown reloaded.
- Buddy Cop Show
- Black Cloak: The killer ( all of them, in fact) wears one of these.
- Blatant Lies: When Angel's throwing the underage patrons out of the pub during his first night in Sandford:
- Bleep, Dammit!: when Angel is getting a tour of the new precinct, a Swear Jar is shown. Each swear is given various rates, while some letters are replaced by Symbol Swearing. Except the word with the highest rate, Cunt.
- Bloody Hilarious: This movie doesn't shy from bloodspray in the least. Tim Messenger gets his head smashed by the tip of a church spire in one of the goriest scenes ever seen in a comedy movie, and it's so over the top, it's bizarrely humorous.
- There's a reason they call it "the Blood and Cornettos Trilogy."
- A Bloody Mess: Repeatedly; with jam, ketchup, Dolmio...
Andy: IT'S ALL RIGHT ANDY! IT'S JUST BOLOGNESE!
Nicholas: Get us back to the station. Now!
- Brainwashed: Played with. Angel says it outright that Frank had brainwashed the police officers into believing that all the murders going on were really accidents. They weren't good old mind-slaves, it worked like a Weirdness Censor, which they all snapped out of, when Angel finally pulls the wool from over their eyes.
- Brick Joke:
- The Andys mock Nicholas by suggesting he go through the phonebook, starting with Aaron A. Aaronson. Aaron A. Aaronson actually exists (causing a double-take from Nick) and plays a minor role in the climax.
- Frank Butterman's reference to ice cream in the station. After Skinner impales his jaw on a model church spire, he whines and says he'll need lots of ice cream for that. Angel says, you guessed it, they have plenty of ice cream in the station.
- Also, the ketchup gag.
- Farmers' mums.
- May double as foreshadowing, but: "You wanna be a big cop in a small town? Fuck off up the model village." This is a succinct description of the ending.
- Broken Pedestal: Uncle Derrick. He inspired his nephew to be a cop...and later got arrested for selling drugs to students. Which makes for some nice foreshadowing, since Danny also became a cop because of a close male relative (his father) and sees that role model go bad too.
- But You Screw One Gourd: 'Is that why you split up? Cause' you done it with a plant?'
- The Cameo: Cate Blanchett as Nick's ex-girlfriend, and Peter Jackson as a homicidal Santa Claus (both uncredited - and Blanchett is masked!). Edgar Wright, the director and co-writer, also has a brief moment as a supermarket worker pushing a trolley, at the supermarket where he used to work. The exteriors were shot in the director's home town.
- The Best Village judges are played by Simon Pegg's mum, Edgar Wright's mum, and Wright's former drama teacher.
- Camera Abuse: When Tim Messenger is murdered, blood splashes on the camera.
- Captain Obvious: Combines with Ask a Stupid Question when Angel asks P.I. Staker what the swan looks like. It's a swan.
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: Complete with a Michael Bay-style shot of a helicopter flying overhead.
- Chekhov's Armory: Nearly everything in the first half of the film sets up something for the second half. And in a literal sense, Webley's Barn, then the Evidence Room.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: At first, the swan is a wild swan chase through Sandford. Later on, when trying to apprehend a shoplifter, the swan pops up again, forcing Nicholas to choose: Swan or Shoplifter. (He chose shoplifter.) It pops up again near the end as the obstruction in the road that ends the car chase. At this point, Angel finally gets the swan in a police cruiser. However, it still isn't finished; serving its last purpose by keeping Frank Butterman from getting away from Sandford.
- Chekhov's Gun: Among others, a swan and a Sea Mine. Yes, a sea mine. Also...
Danny Butterman: Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?
- Early on in the movie, there are a pair of swords on the hotel wall, and a pair of antique pistols and a Victorian police cloak in Frank Butterman's office; Frank dons the Victorian cloak when he appears at the NWA meeting; the weapons are both used in the epic battle near the end, Bernard with the swords and Frank with the guns.
- The paper bin, which the Andys usually throw at people's heads (noteworthy at Nick and Danny). Nick later uses it to knock out the last NWA member, who intruded the Police Station and shot Danny. He stumbles backwards into the Evidence Room, and causes the sea mine to detonate.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Every member of the NWA appears in at least semi-minor roles long before they're revealed as the evil cult. Especially notable is the plaque on the fountain which lists all of the bad guys.
- Chekhov's Skill: Danny pretends to stab his own eye out with a fork by hiding a packet of ketchup in his hand and stabbing that instead. He later uses the same trick to fake killing Angel.
- Angel has about several of them:
- In the opening scenes, Angel is shown to be an expert fencer. This comes in handy when Bernard attacks Angel with a sabre, with Angel fending him off with his police baton.
- Angel holds the police record for the hundred-yard dash. Comes in handy when Reaper's mother tries to shoot Angel with a shotgun. Angel is able to sprint over and take her out before she's finished reloading.
- Which makes it all the more confusing when he just about keeps pace with a random teenager who he caught shoplifting. Either he's holding back for some reason or that is one seriously fast kid. However, Angle chased him much further than a hundred yards; sprinters are usually lousy distance runners, and vice-versa.
- And, of course, Angel's skill with guns, having served with CO19. Useful when he starts a shootout with the NWA... or a friendly game of carnival air rifle.
- But strangely, Angel's superb skill with bicycles never comes into play.
- There's about three shots of Angel exercising his hands before he goes to sleep. When he's fighting Skinner, Skinner catches his punch and starts to deliver a beatdown. Half-way through, Angel catches Skinner's fist and crushes it with a audible crunch.
- Angel has about several of them:
- Close on Title: The title card does not appear until the very end of the film.
- Cool Shades: The cool shades are retro style, an obvious nod to 70's and 80's detective shows.
- Comically Missing the Point: One of the Turners sees Angel leave the station after his supposed death, packing a metric shit-ton of heat, and muses that no-one told him that Sandford had a mounted division.
- In the scene with the underage drinkers at the pub:
- Roughly 50% of Danny Butterman's lines.
- Creepy Monotone: "The greater good...."
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Thinking the brutal deaths were accidents.
- Subverted, as Sandford does not have a coroner. It only has a doctor; who in fact is involved in all the murders at best.
- Crossword Puzzle: Doubles as a humorous Ironic Echo.
- If you look closely at the crossword, one of the words filled in is 'swan'.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Sanford Police Service pull themselves together for the final battle.
- Curse Cut Short: "...Cousin Sissy can go and f-"
- Danger Takes a Backseat: SWAN!
- Dateless Grave: Played straight with dateless newspapers, subverted with an actual gravestone with a date.
- Death Faked for You: Danny does this to an unaware Nicholas to help him escape an armed mob of the murderous townsfolk whom he foolishly tried to arrest all together at once after discovering them.
- Decon Recon Switch
- Designated Girl Fight: Doris versus Skinner's secretary, which lasts for two seconds.
"Nothing like a bit of girl on girl!"
- Followed up by a stereotypical British laugh riot.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Simon Skinner, who makes ominous veiled threats every time he's on, complete with appropriate music and chilling demeanor. Set to be the obvious choice, but he doesn't have the wounds that match when Nick chased the hooded figure that stabbed the florist. Double Subverted when he's shown to be part of the NWA.
- Edgar Wright had even planned on Lampshading this by including a sign pointed at Skinner in his first scene which let everyone know he was the villain but was unable to fit it into the Camera shot.
- Dirty Old Man: PC Walker doesn't say much but the stuff he does are pretty dirty. Tits! Cocks!
- Disney Death: Danny near the end
- Disproportionate Retribution: Angel gives The Summation of the complex and intricate series of motives for the various murders. Turns out they were actually all for minor infractions against the village's perfect reputation, like the journalist making spelling errors and wrong dates.
- And also inverted. After Danny almost drunkenly runs over a police officer, he's punished by...having to buy the other officers ice cream for a month.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Angel, in the first half of the movie. Of course, by the end, he changes his opinion a bit.
- Don't Explain the Joke: PC Bob Walker ruining Doris' inappropriate humor.
- Doomed Appointment: Tim telling Nick about meeting him after a village fair, and promptly having his head imploded. "Tim! Your number's up!"
- Double Entendre: Doris is a walking double entendre.
- Gets flipped on its head at the end: Nick makes one and Doris jokingly calls him a dirty bastard.
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Parodied with a scene in which a group of heavily-armed officers charge toward a building accompanied by the sound of literally dozens of gun cocks as each of them cocks his/her weapon four or five times. Without cocking it.
- Dual-Wielding: Employed impressively early with pens.
- Eagle-Eye Detection: Angel utilizes this to build on his theory that the murders are being committed as part of a scheme for a property deal. Plausible, but wrong.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Nick's original accusation, and what drives him. The truth is far, far more silly... and dangerous.
- Eureka Moment: The shop keeper questioning Danny on the 'killers' and Danny's response ("It's just one killer actually...") is what clues Angel into one of the main flaws of his original theory; that there was only one killer.
- Everyone Is Armed: Angel confiscates scores of unlicensed arms, and the NWA still has a small army's worth
- Evil Teacher: While the schoolteacher herself is not shown as evil to her students, she is a member of the murderous NWA. And during the final shootout, uses akimbo pistols whilst riding A FUCKING BIKE, and is one of two characters to actually hit Nicholas.
- Evil Is Petty: The reason behind the murders is generally silly reasons, like an annoying laugh, bad acting, wanting to move away, and having a bushy beard.
- Failed a Spot Check: Angel pretty much walks right out of police headquarters with a crapload of guns from the evidence room and strolls right by Frank's big-windowed office with Frank none the wiser. Weaver also misses him on all the cameras: it takes the shopkeeper to finally notice, and by then, he's already in the town centre.
- A Fete Worse Than Death: The main plot. Humorously, the phrase appears word for word on a newspaper.
- Firing in the Air a Lot: Mocked and then played straight, in a homage to Point Break (which was even shown in the friggin' film...)
- Foreshadowing: Everything in the first 3/4 of the movie is foreshadowing. Everything.
- Too much to list completely - for example, in the very first scene, "You can't just make people disappear." "Yes, I can. I'm the Chief Inspector."
- A conversation fairly early on:
Andy: Everybody and their mums is packing 'round 'ere.
- Guess who are the first armed citizens of Sandford Nicholas comes across in the film's climax?
- In a conversation Nicholas has with Danny about how 'something is always going on', he points out three people that he thinks could be suspicious. One is caught shoplifting a couple scenes later, and the other two turn out to be part of the town's conspiracy; in addition, Nicholas points out that Mr. Treacher could be hiding something under his large, fairly unnecessary coat. He is.
- After watching Point Break, Nicholas points out that amount of chaos would come with a lot of paperwork. Guess what everyone in the station is doing after the town-wide shootout?
- "You're not going to get stabbed here, Inspector".
- Simon Skinner hustling a carnival game at the church fundraiser called "Splat the Rat". Guess what happens when Tim Messenger tries to talk to Nick?
- Funny Background Event: Skinner's smile after telling Nicholas to look through the security footage perfectly mirrors the photo of himself directly behind him.
- Fun with Acronyms: The NWA. Straight Outta Sandford? No, just the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance. And they really don't like this particular policeman...
- Genre Savvy: Danny, who is hopeless at actual policing, has this as his other strength.
- Gilligan Cut:
Nicholas Angel: "P.I. Staker. Piss taker. Come on!"
- Glasses Pull: Janine yanks off her goggles dramatically while arguing with Angel, probably as a deliberate poke at CSI: Miami. For added hilarity, she's part of a CSI unit investigating a murder.
- During the scene in the pub at the end, this trope is parodied for all its worth as pretty much every character either does a dramatic glasses pull or a dramatic riot helmet visor lift... or both.
- Guns Akimbo: See Chekhov's Gun, above.
- Guttural Growler: Nicholas picks this up in the gas station after fleeing Sandford, and continues to growl like a chain smoker through most of the final showdown.
- Head Desk: Nicholas does this at one point.
- He's Back: And in an oh-so-awesome way!
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Nicholas and Danny, as well as the two Andys, qualify for this trope.
- His Name Is
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Many examples, some of them quite subtle, but here's a big one: Skinner slips on a model van sporting the logo of his own supermarket and lands on a model of the church roof, which he previously used as a murder weapon.
- Human Shield: Skinner tries it, only to have the shield bite him in the arm and make a break for it.
- Hypocritical Humor: The priest pulling two guns then shouting "Jesus Christ!" after being shot down. This was proceeded by him yelling for Angel to stop the violence, then saying 'fuck'.
- More specifically "Fuck off, grasshopper!"
- The NWA discussing the death of the hoodies in the village, while wearing dark cloaks and hoods!
- Tom Weaver, the most visible and worried member of the NWA, screaming at Angel that he's a busybody in the post-climax showdown. Weaver's also the one responsible for watching the town's CCTV camera network (i.e. spying on everyone).
- Idea Bulb: Not literally, although Nick actually says "Idea!"
- If I Can't Have You: A variation. This is the reason Leslie Tiller is murdered. The town doesn't want her horticultural expertise going elsewhere.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: (spoilers)
- On a scale model of a church spire.
- With the person impaled having earlier pushed the spire off the real church to impale/crush Messenger's head.
- On a scale model of a church spire.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: One of the villains has a clear shot at Nicholas from short-range at an elevated position using a scoped rifle. Despite this, she doesn't use the scope and misses him several times.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Played straight and subverted, as Angel is remarkably good at shooting to disable. The best example would be shooting the strings of a flowerpot above a woman's head with a rifle from several yards away, which neatly severs the chain without damaging the pot or the beam they're hanging on. Subverted when he goes diving through the air, Guns Akimbo, in classic Woo style, and hits bugger-all... which is exactly what happens when you try that in real life.
- Most of the other coppers don't hit a thing with the shotguns Nicholas gave them. One can only assume they were loaded with rock salt so as not to accidentally kill anyone.
- Also notable when Nicholas hurls a spray paint can at a fleeing suspect in a large arc; he gets a direct hit and knocks the guy out cold.
- Improvised Weapon: At one point, Nick's ironically named Peace Lily, then later (in rapid succession): Trolleys, a wet floor sign, and thrown fruit and jars. Earlier, a waste basket, car doors, and some beer barrels were used to smack someone in the gob. Earlier still, a hoodie's spray paint can.
- Insistent Terminology: A series of Running Gags stem from Angel's strict adherence to politically correct vocab guidelines that cause him to correct anyone who gets something wrong.
- "It's the police service; 'force' is too aggressive."
- "She's a police officer; being a man or woman has nothing to do with it."
- "Traffic collision; 'accident' implies there's no one to blame." (Obviously, that one's not so much meant for comedy. Also a Plot Point.)
- This is also shown at the end of the movie to show the Character Development of both main characters. Danny is the one to make the vocab guideline correction, showing that he's starting to take the not-so-action-packed moments of being a police officer a little more seriously, as he actually knows some of the guidelines. Angel is then the one who responds with a Double Entendre, showing that he's not taking himself quite so seriously anymore, and isn't as obsessed with being a model police officer every single moment of every day.
- During the garden shop lady's monologue, which provides a plausible explanation for all the murders, every time she mentions (God rest her) the name (God rest him) or names (God rest them) of the dead, she says "God rest him/her/them".
- Ironic Echo: About half the dialog in the last half-hour or so qualifies, including "You're a doctor. Deal with it." and "What're you thinkin'?" "Pub?"
- And the Greater Good.
- The Greater Good.
- Shut it!
- "crusty jugglers!"
- "A great big bushy beard!!!"
- That Sergeant Angel's back... check out his horse.
- And the Greater Good.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Averted in the following quote:
"Danny": (listing all the stuff that he expects police work to be) Gun Fights, Car Chases; proper action and shit.
- Yes, he in fact takes offense on both. Including the latter, strangely enough.
- It Was His Sled: Invoked in the trivia track:
The idea of there being multiple killers responsible for murder is inspired by Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Apologies for the spoiler. It has been out for 33 years.
- Jerkass: The Andys, who seem physically incapable of opening their mouths without saying something condescending.
- Nicholas, while his attitude is certainly understandable and even admirable, is also very unpleasant to be around due to his by the book attitude and general humorlessness.
- Throwing Loaded Shotguns: "You're a doctor. Deal with it."
- "Yeah, motherfucker!"
- Jump Cut: A very well-executed one, from Merchant getting clubbed over the head to Nick flopping down on a couch.
- Jumped At the Call: Danny in the final shootout.
- Kicked Upstairs
- Knight Templar: The NWA
- Large Ham: Timothy Dalton, whose character does own a supermarket.
- Lawful Stupid: Nick gets this occasionally, most notably when he spies on the NWA at the castle, listening to their explanation of how they murdered a large number of people, including a police officer who was on to them and then pulls out his badge and tells them they are all under arrest, as if they would really listen to him.
- Leap and Fire
- Let's Get Dangerous
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Though the story generally sticks to the main characters, it is worth note that there are 24 conspirators in Sandford's cult. Only two of them die. Mrs. Tiller is killed by her fellow members when she decides to move and Weaver is killed by the sea mine. There are around 50 characters that had speaking lines. Then there's the swan aka "Sandford's most wanted..."
- Lock and Load Montage: Nick takes very nearly the police station's entire safe full of contraband weapons. so much that when he stomps out he sounds like he's wearing Powered Armor; the rest of the officers get the rest later.
- Logo Joke: On the UK release, the sirens going off at the beginning are timed to go along with the Universal Pictures logo as the word UNIVERSAL makes its way around the globe. Not in the US due to Universal using a sub-label, Rogue Pictures.
- Looks Like Cesare: The cashier at the petrol station where Nicholas buys supplies for his return to Sandford. He also speaks very slowly, and never changes his expression, making him extremely zombie-like. Possibly justified as he's working the graveyard shift.
- Married to the Job: Nick's defining trait, which ruined his past relationship with Janine and nearly wrecks his new one with Danny.
- Meaningful Name: For the biggest example, see the bottom of the page.
- Additionally, a well stocked armoury is found in the barn of a man named Webley.
- Several of the characters' names have violent meanings. Skinner, Shooter, Reaper, Staker (who doesn't engage in any violence).
- Eve Draper is clearly named for Evelyn Draper in Play Misty for Me. Her lover's name is Blower.
- A doctor who delivered Danny is named Hatcher. A florist is named Tiller. A journalist is named Messenger. A successful businessman is named Merchant.
- According to the trivia track, most of the people in the village still carry traditional tradesman's names in order to indicate the lack of intermarrying (and therefore purity) of their family lines, pointing to their severe xenophobia.
- In a sneaky example, the giant generally known as Lurch is mentioned offhand to be named Michael Armstrong.
- Merciful Minion: Danny fakes stabbing Nick in order to prevent the Neighborhood Watch Alliance from killing him for real.
- Milkman Conspiracy: The Neighborhood Watch Alliance.
- Minsky Pickup: Used at the conclusion of the Romeo and Juliet production.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: Angel persuading the rest of the coppers to take on the NWA.
- Mistaken for Prank Call: When Nicholas gets a call from one 'Peter Ian Staker' about a missing swan, he assumes it's a prank call (Peter Ian Staker = P.I. Staker = piss taker). It's not. That's his real name, and his swan really is missing.
- Mood Whiplash: The movie likes to play with this, usually to help increase dramatic tension or humor value. For example, Sergeant Angel just got done relating his origin story in a heartwarming moment of bonding. Then Danny STABS HIMSELF IN THE EYE WITH A FORK!? Then he reveals it was a ketchup packet. From heartwarming to horrific to freggin hilarious.
- Motive Rant: When Nicholas confronts the NWA, they go at length to explain why the murders took place, with a hefty degree of parody of similar rants, particularly their emphasis on the horrible things they were responsible for.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sergeant Nicholas Angel.
- Amusingly, Nick Angel is the real name of the music supervisor on the film. Confirmed as an in-joke on the commentaries. A picture of the real Nick Angel, playing the late Sergeant Popwell, was edited out of the scene it was shown in.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The promotional materials made out the movie to be a send up of Buddy Cop Action movies, but a significant chunk of the film is an equally well-done send up of Slasher Movies. Well, before the ending.
- Most of the second act can be seen as a send-up of British tea-cosy mysteries as well.
- No Sense of Humor: Nick's complete and utter devotion to his job has made him a first-class police officer, but it's also rendered him completely humourless, pedantic and uptight.
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here Just the way they like it.
- Obviously Evil: Skinner, Skinner, Skinner. Angel immediately suspects him, thankfully, but his obvious evil ends up obfuscating the fact that he's not the only murderer.
- His very introduction was designed with this trope specifically in mind. The filmmakers had the old expression "X may as well have had a sign saying BAD GUY over his head, it was so obvious!" in mind, and wanted to frame and block the scene so that something in a sign over a shop in the background when Skinner runs up to meet Angel actually caused it to look like that was happening. But try as they might, they just couldn't pull it off, so they nixed the idea and instead just had his first line be, "Arrest me; I'm a slasher!"
- Off the Wagon: Angel isn't an alcoholic, but he doesn't drink (at the very least, not on duty). He immediately goes on a bender after a single beer, but still holds his liquor better than another patron...
- Bender is a bit exaggerated. We see him drink three pints, and he seems no more than socially drunk.
- Oh Crap: A variation of this with Tom Weaver who goes "oh god no" right before the sea mine goes off.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Turns out they are chanting the town motto, as seen on the sign on the way in.
- One-Scene Wonder: There are quite a few cameos and every actor is hilarious. But special mention must go to Bill Nighy as Kenneth, the chief inspector and Martin Freeman and Steve Coogan in the opening scene.
- One Steve Limit: Subverted with The Andys.
- Only a Flesh Wound: The council are all, with a single very notable exception, more inconvenienced and angered by their gunshot wounds than anything, somewhat justified in that they are visibly shot in less immediately vital areas like the shoulder or the foot.
- Nick's own wound in the arm is probably a better example of this - apart from the red mark on his shirt, the shot never bothers him or is referenced again.
- The director's commentary says that Nick was deliberately aiming for non-lethal shots. That being said, there's no such thing as a safe place to shoot. Also note that the majority of the time Angel achieves a non-lethal shot by shooting objects near the target rather than directly shooting the target's body.
- Averted with Nick's stab wound mentioned at the start. A couple of months have passed and his hand is still not quite at its best.
- Only a Model: The model village.
- Only Sane Man: The entire police force chuckles and jeers at Nicholas when he says the accidents are really murders, until he finally blows his top.
- And then during the final shootout...
- 'Yeah, accidents happen all the time, what makes you think this was murrrderrr?' 'BECAUSE I WAS THERE!'
- Outrun the Fireball: Subverted twice. First, there's no explosion. Then, there's no time to run.
- Phrase Catcher: "The Greater Good".
- "SHUT IT!"
- Pocket Protector: Subverted, but not in the way you might expect. "It's ketchup."
- Post Climax Confrontation: It seems that everyone just forgot about Tom Weaver.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "Morning..."
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner/Bond One-Liner: James Bond himself frequently indulges in these.
- Precision F-Strike: Angel goes the entire first half of the film without swearing, which adds a lot of impact when he finally exclaims that "Leslie Tiller was fucking murdered!"
- And again at the end of the movie to indicate that Angel has lightened up considerably, he responds to have a waste basket thrown at his head with, "You cheeky fucker!"
- Right before the (seemingly) deadly guest.
- Principles Zealot: For Great Justice Up to Eleven
- Psychopathic Manchild: Michael, the trolley boy.
Nicholas: Michael! Michael! Think for a moment- Is this really what you want to be doing?
- Punctuated Pounding: Skinner attacking Nicholas in the climax. "Get! Out! Of my! Village!"
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: "It's not your village anymore"
- Punny Name: Some of the characters, such as P.I. Staker ("Piss-taker"). When Nicholas first hears the name, he assumes it's a prank call.
- Ramping Shot
- Rare Guns: Tom Weaver decides to attack Angel with a blunderbuss which is an early type of shotgun that was obsolete by the mid 19th century. A modern day shotgun probably would have been cheaper...
- Really Seventeen Years Old: Nicholas throws a bunch of underage drinkers who lied about their real age out of the bar.
- Reality Ensues: After the climax, the film switches to the cops doing reams of paperwork.
- Additionally, after his encounter with the deranged Father Christmas, Nicholas is still performing physical therapy to get his hand back up to full strength as the movie commences.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The West Country, actually.
- Reassignment Backfire: Crime rates go up in London while Nick is away...
- Reconstruction: The first half of the movie hangs several lampshades on police/action movie tropes, deconstructs several more, and subverts the rest. The second half of the movie takes just about every one of those tropes and builds them all back up into one glorious beacon made of awesome.
- Red Herring: Simon Skinner, the Smug Snake manager of the local supermarket, is clearly being set up to be either the villain, or (for the Genre Savvy) a red herring with the actual villain being one of the eccentric village types the protagonist encounters. It turns out that all the eccentric locals, including Skinner, are involved. Furthermore the elaborate yet plausible motive involving adultery, greed, envy, and a land deal turns out to be wrong, as all the killings are happening simply because the victims are threatening the village's image.
- Refuge in Audacity: Fly kick to elderly woman's face while she's reloading a double-barrel shotgun.
- Returning to the Scene: Skinner always shows up to the scene of the murders, despite having no business being there. This is just one of the reasons Angel believes him to be the killer and in the end, he's half right
- Rouge Angles of Satin: The reason the council kills the reporter from the local newspaper.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: One of the murders involves a house exploding in such a manner that it looks like an accident.
- Running Gag: The swan.
- Dr. Hatcher getting shot in the leg.
- "Morning, Sergeant~"
- The hostage situations.
- Sarcastic Confession: With Simon Skinner, who gives one to Angel when they first meet.
- Serious Business: The "Best Village in Britain" award is Serious Business. Danny's mother committed suicide when Sandford didn't win once. Her husband and the rest of the NWA killed people to make sure it would never lose again.
- Shopping Cart Antics: two huge chains of shopping carts were used as a Battering Ram.
- Shout-Out: To Shaun of the Dead's fence jumping scene.
- Also to Shaun of the Dead:
Danny Butterman: You want anything from the shop?
- Shown Their Work: A lot of police officers were talked to in the discussion of this. They liked the paperwork scenes. If you have the DVD, you'll find out a lot more of what Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright found out on the "Fuzz Facts" trivia track.
- For example, Sandford is the name of the fictional town traditionally used in UK police training exercises. And how the official vocabulary guidelines have to say "police service."
- They also sat through dozens upon hundreds of cop movies and assorted subgenres, making sure they got all the cliches just right.
- Shut Up, Kirk: "Fuck off, grasshopper!" said in response to Nick trying to convince Reverend Shooter to go quietly.
- Sleep Cute: Danny and Angel. Awwwwwwwww...
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror
- Small Reference Pools: Throughout the film, Inspector Frank Butterman tells stories to Sergeant Angel about a predecessor, Sergeant Popwell, who had died prior to the events of the film. The name "Popwell" is a reference to Albert Popwell, an actor who had different roles in four films of the Dirty Harry franchise, most famously as the robber at the receiving end of the "Do I feel lucky?" speech. Interestingly, Albert Popwell also had a role in a 1972 American movie simply called, of all things, Fuzz. The 1972 Fuzz was also a police procedural action comedy with the same tagline/CatchPhrase as this film ("Here come the Fuzz.") that involved the investigation of a murder-extortion racket. Does this make Hot Fuzz a loose remake?
- One of the Inspector's stories about Sergeant Popwell having "a great big bushy beard!" becomes a Chekhov's Beard in the middle of the film, when Sergeant Angel discovers the corpse of a man with said beard in the catacombs, presumably Popwell, and heavily implying, if not outright confirming, that Popwell was one of the murdered Sandford residents.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: a subtle one - while Angel's boss is reeling off his perfect career record, the music playing over it is Adam and the Ants' "Goody Goody Two Shoes".
- Also when Skinner happens to drive by two of the 'accidents'. On passing by Eve Draper and Martin Blower's 'traffic collision', "Romeo and Juliet" by the Dire Straits is playing on Skinner's car radio. On passing by George Merchant's exploded house, "Fire" by Arthur Brown is playing.
- Spiritual Successor: Shaun of the Dead, also Dead Right a student film made principally by director Edgar Wright.
- Spit Take: Nicholas does one when he and Danny are discussing Eve Draper's exploits.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Skinner has a tendency to pop up in unexpected places, surprising Angel everytime.
- Stealth Pun: A blink-and-you'll-miss-it dirty pun at the very beginning of the town fair scene. Doris and the two men she's with see the hog-roast on a spit, to which she comments, "That's me after a few pints!"
- Storming the Castle
- Straight Man: Nicholas.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Subversion - the sea mine doesn't blow up in Webley's barn. Double Subversion - it blows up in the evidence room.
- Stylistic Suck: The in-universe adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.
- Surrounded by Idiots: How Angel feels about his new police team.
- Swans-a-Swimming: Sandford's most notorious fugitive.
- The Swear Jar: Nicolas Angel and Andy Wainright have a heated argument, and both turn aside to politely thank two other characters for paying in. The argument started with Nicholas paying in advance for his first swear.
Nicholas: Of course she fucking was! *clink* Thank you, Danny.
- Taking the Bullet: Danny takes a load of buckshot to the chest when the NWA head shows up in the epilogue to kill him.
- Technical Pacifist: Nick Angel- While he does engage in a shootout near the end of the movie, he never kills anyone, instead either shooting them non-lethally or using the environment to incapacitate the others. He is, after all, still a cop.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Parodied and played straight at the same time.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "GET! OUT! OF MY! VILLAGE!" Perfectly shouted by Timothy "The Daltonator" Dalton.
- "PUNCH! THAT! SHIT!"
- Thematic Series: It's the second movie in a thematic trilogy (alternately called "the Blood and Cornettos trilogy" and "the Three Colours Cornetto trilogy"), of which Shaun of the Dead was the first. The movies have no characters or plot points in common, but they're both extremely gory black comedies that affectionately parody popular action movie genres and feature Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing a pair of Vitriolic Best Buds who can't live without each other.
- Theme Naming: Most of the town have names that derive from traditional rural, working-class occupations and activities, such as Cartwright and Wainwright. Most of them (and a couple besides that don't fit that pattern) end in "-er," including Cooper, Porter, Turner, Skinner, Draper, Shooter, Prosser, Hatcher, Paver, Brother, Fisher, Walker, Thatcher, Weaver, Roper, Reaper, Staker, Messenger, Treacher, Cocker, Blower... Some of them are an 'old-world' echo of the modern professions these characters follow, e.g. Tim Messenger the journalist, Dr Hatcher who 'brought Danny into this world'.
- Those Two Guys: The Andys.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Unlike most violent cop films that this film parodies, Nicholas Angel and his allies in the climatic action finale never shoot to kill. All the villains survived to be holed up in jail, even though the final showdown with the villain was pretty gory.
- With the exception of Tom Weaver, who most certainly died. Also, it is out-right stated that Mrs. Tiller was part of the NWA. She gets killed by her own when she tries to move away.
- Took a Level In Badass: The entire police force takes one during the climax.
- Town with a Dark Secret
- Toyota Tripwire
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer mainly focused on the final third of the movie.
- Trunk Shot: As a Shout-Out to the man who popularized it. Danny gets one looking down on Nicholas after he drives him out of town.
- T-Word Euphemism: Comically subverted. The police station's swear box has a list of prohibited swear words and the corresponding fine, each of which is bowdlerized — except the most offensive one.
- Unflinching Walk
- The Unintelligible: Two characters, both old men with ridiculously over the top West Country accents. (They get easier to understand as the movie progresses, though.)
- One of them does. The other shows up dead the next time he's seen...
- Inspired by a real life anecdote the writers heard about a cop who did need a local officer to translate for him.
- Utopia Justifies the Means/Well Intentioned Extremists: Where utopia is winning the Village of the Year award and the means is a slew of murders.
- Verbal Tic: Tim Messenger greets everyone with "Hi-Hi."
- Villainous Valour: After the shootdown on the city centre, the polices storm the supermarket. And what the workers of the supermarket do? They fight a police squad clad in riot gear by trowhing miscallenous products and knives at them.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- "He's not even from 'round here!"
- "You little fucker!"
- "GET. OUT. OF. MY. VILLAGE!!!!"
- Visual Pun: Tony Fisher is first seen in front of a chart with several unflattering words "Indecisive" "Late" "Unfit" "Rude" etc. pointing at him.
- Weirdness Censor: Danny rescues Angel from the NWA meeting he crashes by pretending to stab him, so he obviously thought that Angel was in mortal danger. In the next scene, he professes his ignorance of all the goings-on.
- In short, he's in severe denial. This is briefly explored in one of the "Plot Holes" DVD extras.
- For that matter, the entire local police service is convinced that officers transferred from out of town are paranoid lunatics, seeing every single obvious accident as a potential murder just because somebody died.
- The West Country: All the typical indicators are present.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: This movie features dual-wielding pens, dramatic paperwork, dramatic hitting-somebody-over-the-head-with-a-peace-lily, dramatic traveling-across-England-on-the-M4, dramatic leaving-the-apartment, dramatic putting-change-on-a-counter, dramatic saying "Cornetto", dramatic saying "Pub?", all with plenty of Whip Pan. Naturally, all intentional.
- The dramatic pint-pouring.
- And piss-taking.
- And swan encounters.
- And jittercam suspect-booking montages.
- "Oh, Sergeant Angel? Someone from London called for you." (dramatic turning around with dozens of guns strapped to his body) "....I'll tell 'em you'll ring them back."
- Lampshaded when Blower gets pulled over for speeding in possible the shortest high speed car chase ever.
Danny: That was brilliant.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Everyone murdered in Sanford was killed for petty reasons like having an awful laugh, lots of typos in the newspaper, or having an ugly house. And let's not get started on the drunk kids, that shoplifter, those crusty jugglers, and THE LIVING STATUE.
- Let's not forget a woman was murdered for trying to move and the NWA didn't want her sharing her gardening talents with another community. It turns out she was NWA also, but still. Then there's Officer Popwell who was killed for having a great big bushy beard. Though it can be inferred that he discovered the town's secret and he disapproved. Then there were the Traveling Irish. The NWA even killed dogs for pooping in the streets instead of just sending them to the pound. Brutal.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: A single guy coming into town who uncovers and crushes its Dark Secret and Ancient Conspiracy? He's gotta be an Angel. Some also say that in the scene where he rides into town on a white horse, the large guns tied across his back are meant to resemble wings. (Though according to Wikipedia, the character was named after Nick Angel, the Musical Director.)
- A horse-riding Winged Humanoid is an entire new level of awesome, if you think about it... In fact he does look the spitting image of the closest thing in real life.
- Also note that his badge number at the beginning of the movie is 777, the number of God. And to top it all, of course, he's an agnostic.
- When he enters the hotel, the woman minding the desk remarks "It appears the heavens have opened". She's referring to the rain, but an Angel did just walk in...
- As outlined above, his name is Nicholas and he is stabbed by a Santa.
- Which is an anagram of Satan! ...What? Too far?
- Window Pain: Nicholas tosses his billy club through a storefront window, then crashes through the still-intact door in order to chase a black-robed suspect.
- One of the killers cuts their leg jumping through a greenhouse window (or would it be a wall...?)
- Would Hurt a Child: Skinner tries to use a kid as a human shield.
- The underage kids at the pub near the beginning later turn up dead at the hands of the NWA.
- X Meets Y: Bad Boys 2 meets Midsomer Murders.
- You Watch Too Much X: When Nicholas outlines his theory on the conspiracy behind the murders during his attempted arrest of Skinner, Skinner accuses him of this. Danny chimes in, noting that, no, he doesn't.
- SHUT IT!