Annoying Laugh: Played straight as multiple characters point 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.
"Action movie lore dictates that the ratio of bullets expended to targets hit is always disproportionately high."
Wright and Pegg even go so far in the commentary for the pub shootout to jokingly claim they wanted to take the A-Team's record for most ammunition expended in a scene without anyone getting hit. Quote:
"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.
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 (he probably got his license after cutting his teeth on those very roads, too.)
A Birthday, Not a Break: Nicholas and Danny chase down clues and compile research, confirming Nicholas' theory about a conspiracy behind the deaths. After spending the day doing this, Nicholas feels bad when he discovers he dragged Danny into it on his birthday. Danny doesn't mind, though - he thinks getting drawn into a real, serious police investigation is the best thing he could have done for a present.
Danny Butterman: How's Lurch? Nicholas Angel: He's in the freezer. Danny: Did you say "Cool off"? Nicholas: No, I didn't say anything, actually. Danny: Shame. Nicholas: There was a bit earlier on that you missed when I, uh, distracted him with the cuddly monkey. And then I said "Playtime's over", then I hit him with the peace lily. Danny: You're off the fucking chain! (cocks shotgun)
And later, at the very end of the climax:
Nicholas: I feel like I should say something smart. Danny: You don't have to say anything at all...
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 blood spray 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."
Danny:What's the matter, you got brain freeze? Nicholas:No, I got a brainwave. Get us back to the station. Now! Danny (after trying to swallow his Cornetto whole):ARGH!
Brainwashed: Played with. Angel says 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. It helps that they all seem a bit dim.
The Andys mock Nicholas by suggesting he go through the phone book, 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 a lot of ice cream for that. Angel says, you guessed it, that they have plenty of ice cream in the station.
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.
The Cameo: Cate Blanchett as Nick's ex-girlfriend, and Peter Jackson as a homicidal Santa Claus (both uncredited — and Blanchett wears a face mask and a full-body hazmat suit!). 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.
Ian Holm has a brief non-speaking appearance as a medic after the model village fight.
The Cavalry Arrives Late: Complete with a Michael Bay-style shot of a helicopter flying overhead, and the variation where they were never actually called (on-screen) in the first place (though, realistically, the big ol' shootout in the town square probably had something to do with it.)
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.
Danny Butterman:Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air? Nicholas Angel: No. Danny: Have you ever fired one gun whilst jumping through the air? Nicholas: No. Danny: Ever been in a high-speed pursuit? Nicholas: Yes, I have. Danny: Have you ever fired a gun whilst in a high speed pursuit? Nicholas: No! [Either one or both of them proceed to do all of these things throughout the movie, except for firing one gun whilst jumping through the air—unless you count that as a subset of firing 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 into the Police Station and shot Danny. He stumbles backwards into the Evidence Room, falling on the sea mine and causing it to detonate.
Strangely enough, there's the one that misfires - when Skinner rushes Angel with a box-cutter at the end, you expect the stab-proof vest Angel is always wearing to come into play, but Skinner slips on something before he can actually stab Nicholas.
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.
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.
Danny also is shown to have a fantastic memory, which he uses mainly for quoting action movies and remembering every last detail about the locals. After spending some time around Angel, he puts this skill to good use a couple times by quoting Angel verbatim. He also remembers everything that Angel finds in the newspapers after Leslie Tiller's death, whereas Angel himself has to consult his notes.
Angel has several of them - many revealed during the opening narration giving his biography:
He is shown to be an expert fencer. This comes in handy when Bernard attacks Angel with a saber, 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 finishes reloading.
Angel's skill with guns, having served with SO19. Useful when he starts a shootout with the NWA... or a friendly game of carnival air rifle.
He displayed aptitudes for urban pacification and riot control during his time at the Police Academy. Which pretty much forms the basis of act 3.
Strangely, Angel's superb skill with bicycles never comes into play.
Cliché Storm: Invoked and subverted; from the moment Angel tells the convenience store worker "This is something I have to do myself", everything is a very straight and very deliberate cliche. Even that moment itself is subverted; his response is actually something of a non sequitur as the attendant was just asking if he needed any help.
Close on Title: The title card does not appear until the very end of the film.
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:
Nicholas: Oy! When's your birthday? Underage boy: 22nd of February. Nicholas: What year? Underage boy:Every year. Nicholas:Get out.
Cool Shades: The cool shades are retro style, an obvious nod to 70's and 80's detective shows.
Coordinated Clothes: The Andys are two inseparable detectives who, though not very good at their job, certainly dress for it.
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. The actor who plays Dr. Hatcher bears a striking and ever so slightly worrying resemblance to Dr. Harold Shipman, who was found guilty of the murder of 15 of his patients. It's been said that the similarity between the two is entirely coincidental... but then they would say that, wouldn't they?
Darkest Hour: The Neighbourhood Watch is closing in on Angel, his Inspector is in league with them, he falls into a pit filled with the corpses of their previous victims, and his new best friend looks to have betrayed him and stabs him in the chest, upon which he collapses. It gets better.
Dateless Grave: Played straight with dateless newspapers, subverted with an actual gravestone with a date.
Even then, Angel rattles off some dates at one point, and Danny can be seen reading the Vocab Guidelines for 2006. However, judging by the birthdays and responses given above, the movie takes place no earlier than May of 2008.
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: For cop movies. The first half shows off just how bland a hero cop would be, how disliked by his peers he is for his heroic actions, how much Angel actually hates violence, and how actual cop work mostly consists of busting small town troublemakers. The second half gives us massive explosions, Guns Akimbo, firefights, car chases, police cars, and every trapping every police movie has ever had.
Delinquents: Sandfords hoodie wearing youths, who make life difficult for people by....sitting around wearing hoodies and sitting around at night, Which the NWV are willing to kill them for. Inverted later in the film when Angel enlists their help take back the town by disabling the cameras and Zerg Rush'ing the shop owner who'd been trying to shoot him from her store.
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 is pretty dirty. "Tits."; "Cocks."
Disproportionate Retribution: Sergeant Angel is convinced there must be some kind of complicated conspiracy linking a series of gruesome "accidents". It turns out that they were all killed for incredibly minor infractions the Neighborhood Watch deemed a threat to the town's perfect reputation. For example, the newspaper editor was killed because he had a habit of making typos, and the actress was killed because she had an Annoying Laugh.
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.
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.
Droste Image: That shot of Simon Skinner's smiling face in front of a photo of himself smiling.
Dumbass Has a Point: While the audience knows for a fact that sinister doings are behind the various deaths in Sandford early on, in defence of the Sandford Police's apparent incompetence they are very cleverly arranged to look like accidents (initially, at least). Martin Blower was clearly established as a reckless driver, thus making his and Eve Draper's death-by-crash not entirely unlikely, George Merchant certainly wouldn't be the first drunk to forget to turn the gas off with unfortunate consequences, and Tim Messenger was killed by a chunk of masonry from an old church at a fundraiser specifically to raise funds to repair it. Then Leslie Tiller gets a pair of shears rammed into her throat in front of an eye-witness...
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 in to one of the main flaws of his original theory: that there was only one killer.
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, and wanting to move away.
Expy: According to the DVD Commentary (one of them, anyway), Skinner was based on the manager at the supermarket Wright worked at once - Affably Evil minus the Evil, apparently.
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.
He doesn't go entirely unnoticed, however; Sgt. Turner at the desk does inform Angel that he has a call from London, but a moment of having Angel glower at him fully tooled up and ready to unleash hell is enough to convince him to leave it well alone.
Felony Misdemeanor: Everyone murdered in Sandford 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 underage drinkers, that shoplifter, those crusty jugglers, the weapons-owning farmer, 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 were the Traveling Irish. The NWA even killed the travellers' dogs for pooping in the streets. Brutal.
Foreshadowing: Everything in the first 3/4 of the movie is foreshadowing. Everything. (Seriously! You can watch the movie 5 times and still find something new.)
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. Nicholas: Like who? Andy: Farmers. Nicholas: Who else? Andy:...farmers' mums.
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 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?
"Someone's in for a surprise at 3:00"
Reverend Shooter announcing "Tim, your number's up!" at the tombola.
An early one is Tony Fisher's introduction. The bubble chart is neatly framed behind his head with various negative terms pointing to him such as "Unfit", "Indecisive", and "Lacks Leadership Skills".
Funny Background Event: Skinner's smile after telling Nicholas to look through the security footage perfectly mirrors the photo of himself directly behind him, and later one of security cameras shows him holding a newspaper.
Any time Nicholas is doing his "top cop" schtick and Danny's in the shot, he's shown reacting and learning from it.
He's Dead, Jim: Subverted. When Danny gets shot and then caught in an explosion, Nicholas murmurs "everything's going to be just fine" over and over, and the shot dissolves to fluffy clouds, then comes down to one year later with Nicholas going to the graveyard to honor Danny's long-dead mother.
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.
The final fight reverses their roles, and Nick calls out the Big Bad, Frank Butterman, saying that since this all started with the death of his wife, he couldn't let it end with the death of his son.
Hypocritical Humor: The priest pulling two guns then shouting "Jesus Christ!" after being shot down. This was preceded by him yelling for Angel to stop the violence, then saying 'fuck'.
Nick uses his peace lily to knock an attacker (Lurch) unconscious. See below.
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).
Iconic Item: Angel's potted plant, a Japanese peace lily. He's very careful with it during his move to Sandford, and he later uses it to knock Lurch unconscious.
Idea Bulb: Not literally, although Nick actually says "Idea!" (According to the DVD's trivia track, this was originally intended to appear as a though bubble).
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 Palm: Constable Angel is stabbed in the palm by Santa Claus.
With the person impaled having earlier pushed the spire off the real church to impale/crush Messenger's head. Maybe.
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 from the evidence room. 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.
Improbable Cover: A massive explosion that takes out a whole building is survived by the people inside it. They do this by hiding behind some old sofas — how they did this is 'explained' in the extras.
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.
Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman? Angel: Officer. Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman officer?
"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."note Yes, it does, I've seen her bra!
"Traffic collision; 'accident' implies there's no one to blame." (Obviously, that one's not so much meant for comedy. Later becomes a Plot Point AND Foreshadowing).
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.
It's not a rubber plant, it's a Japanese peace lily!
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.
No More Than One Schoolboy Allowed in the Shop At a Time.
"Do you want anything from the shop?"
"A great big bushy beard!!!"
That Sergeant Angel's back... check out his horse.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Angel himself is this. He's quite cold and has no sense of fun. Until he gets to know Danny. Even in the DVD commentary, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright said he was meant to be this.
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.
Not to mention he wasn't even carrying a gun. (Of course, he only knew Skinner was waiting there...)
This can be a fairly large part of Angel's character in general throughout the movie; while he's certainly no imbecile, he is overly devoted towards following the rules and regulations to extremes at times, thus coming off as a rather anal and humourless individual.
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 a.k.a. "Sandford's most wanted..."
Parodied in one of the trailers, where the characters all get captions with their actors' names. As do the effects, the guns, the locations...
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 grab what's left 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.
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.
And according to the DVD commentary, Eve Draper's name comes from the word eavesdropper, that being what she is in her private life, and fiance Blower is a solicitor, which means he blows a lot of hot air.
Also, according to village gossip, Eve has draped herself over lots of older men.
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.
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 members of the NWA, all of them together 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.
Mundane Made Awesome: This movie features dual-wieldingpens, 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 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, what is possibly, the shortest high speed car chase ever.
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.
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. Indeed, its not until 45 minutes in that he laughs for the first time.
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.
And quite a bit of Genre Savvy, as the way the line is delivered, Weaver seems to find it blatantly ridiculous that, after everything that has happened, he's going to get blown up by a World War II sea mine.
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.
Taken Up to Eleven with Skinner, who has his lower jaw impaled on the model village's church spire, and he's still able to survive long enough to be arrested (albeit needing surgery afterwards, and with his mouth permanently damaged).
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.
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!'
OOC Is Serious Business: When Angel states his belief that the "accident" at the Fete was murder, Frank, who's normally incredibly lax on the rules and standard police procedure, immediately mobilises everyone to investigate.
Likewise, Walker who's normally characterised as The Unintelligible, gets so annoyed about being stuck in the rain;
Walker: I think you're talking a load of shit.
Outrun the Fireball: Subverted twice. First, there's no explosion. Then, there's no time to run.
Pocket Protector: Subverted, but not in the way you might expect. "It's ketchup."
Possession Implies Mastery: The NWA expends a lot of ammunition trying to hit Angel, but really, when does a shadowy group ever actually want to run around killing their targets with loud firearms? Frank being the exception, of course.
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 - and were, in fact, widely available in the evidence room at the time - but it probably wouldn't have been kosher for him to keep a modern weapon within arms reach at the police station.
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.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Chief Inspector Butterman seems more inclined to believe Angel and act on his advice, in contrast to the other officers who all express everything from quiet loathing to outright mockery of Angel. Subverted, when it's revealed that Butterman is really the Big Bad
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.
Every one of Angel's impressive skills mentioned during the prologue are used at some point during the film. Except cycling.
Reliably Unreliable Guns: Seen where one of the heroes intentionally throws his Shur Fine shotgun at the cobblestone street while surrendering, causing it to go off and hit a bad guy.
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. Interestingly, Skinner never protests that part, when he could easily say he was out for a drive.
Rouge Angles of Satin: Tim Messenger, the reporter from the local newspaper is guilty of a lot of this. Including the "angle" one. (Poor Nicholas.) This is the reason the council kills him.
A man urinating in inappropriate places, who, when called out, turns and asks "what?" turning the stream on Nick and Danny.
During the garden shop lady's monologue, which provides a possible 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".
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.
Danny Butterman: You want anything from the shop? Nicholas Angel: Cornetto.
And again, when Angel's stabbed by Danny — he's got red on him!
Skinner mentions that "Greg over there was an extra in Straw Dogs," and Angel drops a beartrap on someone's head as in that same movie.
Throughout the film, Inspector Frank Butterman tells stories to Sergeant Angel about a predecessor, Sergeant Popwell, who had had a breakdown and was killed 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. Popwell also had a role in a 1972 American movie simply called Fuzz, a police procedural action comedy with the same tagline/Catch Phrase as this film ("Here come the Fuzz.") that involved the investigation of a murder-extortion racket.
Show, Don't Tell: A very triumphant example of showing and not telling. The script is incredibly tight, with almost no Filler or extraneous Word Cruft. Most of the character establishment is done through their actions, acting, or directorial decisions.
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.
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it dirty Visual 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!"
Nicholas is stabbed by a man dressed as Santa.
Storming the Castle: Well, there's a literal castle, but it doesn't get stormed. The supermarket, however...
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".
The theme for Angel kicking everyone out of the pub is "Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)" by XTC.
Used in-universe 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 Dire Straits is playing on Skinner's car radio. On passing by George Merchant's exploded house, "Fire" by Arthur Brown is playing.
The Swear Jar: Nicholas 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.
Sword Cane: One of the NWA wields this instead of a gun.
Tall Poppy Syndrome: Angel gets Reassigned to Antarctica because he's "making the rest of us look bad" and isn't a Team Player. The finale reveals that his bosses realized very quickly that this was a stupid plan, since their arrest statistics took a nosedive without him.
Taking the Bullet: Danny takes a load of buckshot to the chest when the NWA head shows up in the epilogue to kill Nick Angel.
Could also count as a Shout-Out, as a very similar scene took place between both actors in the Britcom Spaced...albiet with far less lethal ammunition.
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.
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'.
The noteable exception is "Butterman": Nick Frost agreed to do the film on the proviso that he be allowed to name his character.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Unlike most violent cop films that this film parodies, Nicholas Angel and his allies in the climactic action finale never shoot to kill. All the villains survived to be cooped 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.
Verbal Tic: Tim Messenger greets everyone with "Hi-Hi."
Villainous Valour: After the shootdown on the city centre, the police storm the supermarket. And what do the workers of the supermarket do? They fight a police squad clad in riot gear wielding a variety of firearms by throwing miscellaneous products and knives at them.
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.
Which is weird, as it would be possible for him to be in the dark (or in denial), and have followed Nicholas only to find him in mortal danger (having heard him on the radio with Skinner). Since the NWA never attacked or so much as suspected Danny in their zeal to get Nicholas, he came to the conclusion that he could pull the ketchup trick and safely get him out of town. Really, the only real plot hole is, how was he planning to explain his missing car? (But then, the NWA is pretty single-minded...)
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.
Wham Line: Doubly so, as it reveals that Frank Butterman is in on the whole conspiracy:
Nick: These people died for no reason! No reason whatsoever! Frank Butterman: I wouldn't say that.
What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Crossed with Values Dissonance. The pub owners allowed teens to drink alcohol despite clearly being underage note It was so they wouldn't get in trouble with the law outside, ironically., but Weaver and the rest of the NWA are very concerned with minor or even nonexistant offenses, like loiterers, typos, and the extremely irritating living statue!
Weaver: It's a shame you couldn't do anything about those bloody 'oodies, standing around loitering... sitting!
Fisher says this at every crime scene after Angel rattles off a detailed plan of action.
This is turned around just before the supermarket fight, when Fisher gives the orders and Angel says this line.
Window Pain: Nicholas tosses his billy club through a glass pane door (to crack it), then leaps through it 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...?)
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The only villain to fall in this category is Inspector Butterman, whose wife loved Sandford and worked so hard to make it the "Best Village". But the day before the judges came, a gypsy family showed up and they lost. She then went insane and killed herself. Since then, Butterman started killing for the "greater good of the village."
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.