The tremendously fun thing in retrospect about the first two installments of the now-referred-to-as The Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz being the first two) is not just the fact that they start fairly parodist but metamorphose to the parodied (sub)genre rather brilliantly. That and upon re-viewing the films you can see how brilliantly it all holds up together. I didn’t get to see this film until now so obviously I don’t have the benefit of a revisit yet, but there are some odd things in good ways and not-so-good ways about this film. The humor, the performances and the kinetic editing are there. Gary (Simon Pegg’s) character has an arc setting up for him right away, and that’s also good. I’ve commented this year on how I like a weird sequel and the thing is you never know what to expect with this combination of stars and director so it’s not like expectation is a huge stumbling block.
There’s good and apparent commentary on lots of things like nostalgia, aging, alcoholism, technology and the eternal “At what price progress?” questions; however, the fenestration which matters less here than in prior films is where it gets muddy. Things are found out and some pieces are picked up nicely and some pay-offs are brilliant, but some of the necessary exposition is rushed and doesn’t quite compute. There’s something newer in the offing and how omnipresent the parody element is here is a bit lost on me. However, what they’re creating in the end, is always new and there’s a point where I felt I was chasing it a bit too much; not such that I didn’t get it or like it, but that I felt I could’ve absorbed and liked it more with a bit more time in acts two and three.