Hot Fuzz is a 2007 British police action comedy film, and both a deconstructive and affectionate parody of American buddy cop movie tropes.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the top London bobby, single-handedly keeping the city's crime rate at a record low. He is, in the words of his ex-girlfriend Janine (an uncredited and heavily disguised Cate Blanchett), incapable of "switching off" his police officer mode even while off duty. In fact, his superiors think he is doing too good a job, making the rest of the Met look bad.
Their solution? 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, renowned for having no crime... but a lot of 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 (Nick Frost), a rather fat young police officer who desperately wants to be a Cowboy Cop like in the movies (Bad Boys II and Point Break (1991), to be precise) and who quickly begins to hero-worship the intense cop from the big city.
Then a series of grisly incidents occur, leading Angel to suspect foul play, and as he faces mounting opposition in his quest to solve this mystery, he begins to discover just how dark of a secret exists beneath Sandford's idyllic surface...
Written by Edgar Wright (who directed), starring Simon Pegg (who co-wrote) and co-starring Nick Frost (who plays Danny), this film is quite the troperiffic endeavor, as it spends its first two thirds debunking and poking fun at the real-life applications of common buddy cop tropes...right before going full throttle on them and applying every one of them to a T... while still keeping up with parodying them. It's also filled with Ho Yay; even its creators indulged in writing slashfic on Twitter.
This film is the second part of Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, preceded by Shaun of the Dead and followed by The World's End.
Compare the earlier Bad Eggs and Kopps, and later The Other Guys and 21 Jump Street.
This film contains examples of:
- Aborted Arc:
- The hoodies that frequently show up in the movie are led by the grandson of an NWA member, making it all the more horrific when the Alliance talks about killing them later. This subplot was presumably cut for time.
- There's an entire Red Herring subplot about a land development project in Sanford which Nicholas originally believes is the reason behind the murder. Originally that entire plot was much more prominent and detailed, but in editing it was cut down for being needlessly complex for a plot point that purposefully goes nowhere so in the final version it's mostly just rattled by Leslie Tiller before her death. But several elements from the original plotline remain in the movie.
- Accidental Misnaming: Tim Messenger misspells Angel's name as Angle in the issue of the Sandford Citizen when Angel appears at the school. This leads to the Malicious Misnaming example from the other officers a few scenes later. Skinner even later tells Tim to spell Angel's name correctly the next time he wants to mention him in the paper.
- The Ace: Angel is the best cop in the Met, has an arrest rate 5 times higher than that of any other cop, is good with a lot of guns, and is a quick runner. Nicholas is also 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 when he is the only man who can clean up the town he's reassigned to.
- Actor Allusion: There are multiple references to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing the leads of Shaun of the Dead.
- "What are you thinking?" "...Pub?"
- The Cornettos.
- "Yeeeeeaaaah boy!"
- Unlike Shaun, Angel knows what "exacerbate" means.
- "What's the matter? Haven't you ever take a shortcut before?"
- Danny almost points out to Nicholas that he's got red on him; Nicholas stops him from speaking.
- Just before dying, Tom Weaver mutters "Oh god," just as he did in The Wicker Man (1973).
- Affably Evil:
- Inspector Butterman and Simon Skinner. The latter borders on Faux Affably Evil, however.
- Before the NWA begin their nighttime meeting, they have to make a quick announcement—a couple in the town have named their new born children, and they are all invited to the Christening.
- Affectionate Parody: Of both slasher films and buddy cop/action films. Arguably there's some murder mystery in there too.
- Agony of the Feet: Alas, poor Doctor Hatcher. You can even see a toe flying away.
- All Crimes Are Equal: Committing a crime in Sandford? Death. Whether the crime be shoplifting, underage drinking, juggling, being a traveller, or a statue, or...
- All for Nothing: Irene Butterman's efforts to prepare Sandford for the Village of the Year competition twenty years before was ruined by Romani travellers moving into Callahan Park, which led Irene to lose her mind and kill herself.
- Implied to have been the case in the present, too, with the current Village of the Year competition (the final chase-slash-shootout barrels through the streets right in front of the Village of the Year judging team on a quick scene and they blankly stare ahead as a sign wishing the town luck falls in the background). Angel even lampshades it, saying the people who were murdered died for no reason other than utter pettiness.
- Always Gets His Man: Able to quote chapter and verse of the Police Code, Nicholas is ridiculously skilled in all manner of Police training and tactics, yet is humble in his manner and views his notebook as his most important tool.
- 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.
- Always Identical Twins: The Sgts. Turner (although it's not revealed 'til the end of the film).
- Ambiguously Evil: Leslie Tiller is a member of the NWA, and while they do kill her it's unrevealed if she had been privy to their crimes beforehand. The fact that she wanted to move out of town could mean that she didn't love it as much as they did -in which case they might never have recruited her to their cause- or could mean she had undergone a Heel Realization and was a Defector from Decadence.
- And the Adventure Continues: Parodied. After Nicholas and Danny have won their epic fight with the NWA there is a flash forward to a year later and the movie ends with them racing to stop a small misdemeanour.
- Animal Motifs: Subtle, Nicholas is associated with swans. Nicholas stays at The Swan Hotel and one of his missions involves capturing a swan. In the final shoot-out, the paired shotguns sticking up over his shoulders resemble a swan's partially-lifted wings while swimming. Symbolism-wise, a pair of swans are known to be partners for life and the relationship between Nicholas and Danny is on par with a married couple, with their actors comparing it to a gay relationship. It can also be compared to the ugly duckling, a story about an outcast that grows to be a beautiful swan, like how Danny and Nicholas mature into authority figures. Danny learns to step out of his dad's shadow and be his own person, while Nicholas learns to switch off and relax with others.
- Annoying Laugh: Played straight as multiple characters point out that Eve Draper has a most peculiar laugh, so much so that the NWA kills her because of it.
- Anti-Climax: The music starts going dramatic when Nicholas wants to take his relocation up the chain of command:Inspector: You want to—take this higher?
Nicholas: Yes, yes I do.
Inspector: You want me to bother the chief inspector with this?
Inspector: [reaches for the phone] You want me to get the chief inspector to come all the way down here?
Nicholas: Yes I do.
Inspector: Okay... Kenneth!
[Chief Inspector walks in from just outside the door]
- Anyone Can Die: In Sandford, that is, and for the most petty of reasons. Subverted at the end when the sea mine destroys the station. Weaver is undoubtedly killed, but everyone else, even the hedgehog from the riot room, survives the explosion.
- Apophenia Plot: In a pre-climax sequence, Nicholas Angel delves into the newspaper archives and strings together proof that Simon Skinner committed all the "accidents" that have occurred over the course of the movie, all for the sake of a property deal that might have ended his supermarket monopoly over Sandford; the victims were either in on the deal or knew about it and needed to be silenced. All well and good... except Skinner has an airtight alibi. A few scenes later, it's revealed that the property deal theory is bunk: the Neighborhood Watch Alliance (of which Skinner is a member) had the victims killed simply because they had become an embarrassment to Sandford - either through bad acting, annoying laughs, ugly houses, terrible journalism, or an attempt to take their talents to another village.
- Archnemesis Dad: Frank clearly becomes one to Danny, who by now has sided with Angel to take down the NWA including Frank himself, by the time the Final Battle takes place.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Angel finally gets through to the rest of the police by asking one of these:Angel: Haven't you ever wondered why the murder rate in Sanford is so low but the accident rate, it's so high?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The victim's deaths are done this way—they are killed after they do something to piss off the town. What pushed the NWA to murder their victims was always a very petty detail (e.g., having a house with an unfitting aesthetic) rather than the "conspiracy" Nick thought they were a part of.
- Artistic Licence – Biology: The swan makes a honking noise, like that of a goose. The swan is a mute swan, whose calls are quiet and do not carry.
- Artistic Licence – 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.
- However, in the climax, Danny drops his shotgun on the ground and it goes off. Even if Danny did it intentionally.
- Artistic License – Law Enforcement:
- A real life police officer certainly can't be forced to move from one police force to another.
- They can't be forcibly promoted either; an officer has to sit exams to move up to Sergeant.
- Sandford has its own police force, like an American small town. In real life, it would be policed by Gloucestershire Constabulary. Because police forces have to have at least 1,000 employees, even large towns are too small to have a separate police force. (In reality, London is the only place with its own police force; the rest of England is divided up into police forces mostly based on the 1974 counties.)
- That means that if the police need to deploy firearms in a place like Sandford, they would send in units of full-time firearms officers, rather than allowing the local officers to use them.
- There would never be that many Scenes of Crime Officers as seen in the scene where Nick is talking to his ex-girlfriend: that many could spoil the evidence they're trying to collect.
- A police officer's notebook is an official document and must be written on both sides of the page and in black ink only, not on one side only in blue ink, as Nick does. It should go without saying that comedic cartoons are definitely forbidden.
- Aside Glance: A particularly funny one, too. At the pub scene just before the second "accident", Simon Skinner 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."
- 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."
- To quote the trivia track:
- 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.
- Benevolent Boss: Butterman seems to honestly care about Nick. He repeatedly tries to convince him to stop the investigation rather than kill him right away.
- 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 (he probably got his license after cutting his teeth on those very roads, too).
- Badass Preacher: Reverend Shooter has two derringers packed in his cassock sleeves, and is the second person to actually harm Angel, who at this point has only been hit once in the shoulder by the villains.
- Bad "Bad Acting": The Romeo and Juliet tribute. The reason the leading actors are decapitated in a "car accident / collision." Angel (and later Danny, in a Meaningful Echo to show his support when talking to the Andys) says that the only part of the play that was well-"acted" was Romeo and Juliet's kiss.
- Bad Santa: The appropriately-named Nicholas is stabbed through the hand by a criminal dressed as Father Christmas (played by an uncredited Peter Jackson) in the opening montage of his police career.
- Bait-and-Switch: Done at the end of the movie. After the mine explodes in the police station, Angel is seen cradling a wounded Danny, then the film cuts to Angel visiting a gravestone with the name "Butterman." Turns out it's Danny's mother's grave, and he is alive, standing behind Angel.
- Battle in the Rain: Approximated by sprinklers.
- Berserk Button: The Andys are fiercely loyal to each other and bringing harm to one is sure to incur the others wrath. This is evidenced during the seige on the grocery store when Wainwright peers around a corner at the two butchers only for one to fling a projectile which misses him but smashes several jars of tomato paste which spill sauce and glass all over his face, causing him to turn to Cartwright while screaming, seemingly in agony. Cartwright, thinking Wainwright has been seriously injured, charges into the open and unleashes a hail of gunfire onto the two butchers who immediately duck for cover, still firing even when Wainwright says the "blood" is actually bolognese.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Weaver, civilian liaison of the NWA, has security cameras watching over the whole village. For the finale Angel employs hoodies to paint over the cameras so the NWA don't see him coming.
- Big Fancy House: Subverted with George Merchant's house. It is big and fancy, but it's so at odds with the village's "rustic" aesthetic that it's more of an eyesore than a landmark. As a result it gets an "accidental" gas explosion.
- Big Guy Rodeo: Angel's move of choice during the battle with Lurch in the supermarket. It works after a couple of tries, sending him crashing into a bin of frozen treats.
- Big "NO!":
- Nicholas, after Danny gets shot.
- Danny gets one following a Shut Up, Kirk! moment from Reverend Shooter when he shoots Angel. Danny responds with one of these and shoots Shooter in the shoulder. Both survive.
- Big "SHUT UP!": For the greater good!NWA: The greater good.
Nicholas: SHUT IT!
- Big "WHAT?!": Angel when Frank tells him there's been reports of a fire in the station. It turns out to be the candle on Danny's birthday cake, which the other officers bring out to him.
- Big Word Shout: Andy Cartwright causes a Jump Scare for Angel at the church fête by yelling "SHARK!" in his ear as he watches Skinner.
- Big "YES!": Angel lets one out during his angry rant about Leslie Tiller's murder, but it's actually responding to Frank saying his name before he catches himself.
- 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 Nicholas could have done for a present.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
- Rev. Shooter tries to talk Angel down then shoots him.
- Nearly everyone in the NWA, minus Obviously Evil Skinner.
- 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:Nicholas: You. When's your birthday?
Underage boy: Umm... 8th of May... 1969?
Nicholas: You're thirty-seven?
Underage boy: ...Yeah...?
Nicholas: Get out.
- *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".
- Bloodless Carnage: The final shootout, where unlike every other shootout in film, only one person dies, and he wasn't even in the shootout.
- 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.
- A Bloody Mess: Repeatedly; with jam, ketchup, Dolmio...Andy: IT'S ALL RIGHT, ANDY! IT'S JUST BOLOGNESE!
- Boggles the Mind: "Fascist." "Hag." Not throwing insults at each other, just solving a crossword. Until the final shootout, where they are throwing insults at each other.
- Bond One-Liner:
- Not just used, but discussed: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.
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," and I hit him with the peace lily.
Danny: You're off the fucking chain! [cocks shotgun]
- When Angel meets Joyce Cooper, she says the word "fascist," seemingly directed at him until it's revealed she's working on a crossword. Angel returns the favor with the word "hag." In their final encounter, they're both armed; Angel's the one to dispatch Joyce, at which point he says "Hag!"
- 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...
- Not just used, but discussed:
- "I kind of like it here." Said as protest when Nicholas is forced out of London, and then again as protest when he's asked back.
- Dr. Hatcher attempts to invoke this in the climax, saying that as the one who brought Danny into the world, he feels he should be the one to take him out of it.
- “I see you’ve already arrested the whole village.” “Not exactly.” Later: “Are you going to arrest the entire village?” “Not exactly.”
- Bottomless Magazines: While guns are constantly being shown reloaded in most of the film, the shootout in the pub has about six shots fired without reloading... from a double-barrel shotgun.
- Brain Freeze: A Double Subversion.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.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- One example:Andy C: Everyone and their mums is packing round here.
Nicholas: Like who?
Andy W: Farmers.
Nicholas: Who else?
Andy C: Farmers' mums.
- Another example:Danny: You ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?
Danny: You ever fired one gun whilst jumping through the air?
Danny: Ever been in a high-speed pursuit?
Nicholas: Yes, I have.
Danny: You ever fired a gun whilst in a high-speed pursuit?
- One example:
- Break the Haughty: A small-scale, off-screen case: notice how, at the end, the London cops are less "arrogant, smug and smarmy" with Nicholas and more "humble, grovelling and smarmily desperate" with him after it turns out that Nicholas was pretty much the only thing stopping crime in London from going completely out of control and they've royally screwed up by sending him to Sandford.
- Brick Joke:
- The Andys mock Nicholas by suggesting he go through the phone book, starting with Aaron A. Aaronson. As it turns out, 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.
- The escaped swan makes its return at several especially opportune moments. Peter Ian Staker can also be briefly seen crouching next to the swan at the end.
- When Sgt. Angel picks up the local paper during his first visit to the pub, the headline reads 'Mystery Surrounds Proposed Bipass'. Foreshadowing the killers' true motives.
- In the pub, Andy frightens Nick by using a hidden pack of ketchup to look like he stabbed himself in the eye. This becomes useful later when Nick is surrounded by the members of the NWA.
- Everyone has guns in Sandford. Like farmers. And farmers' mums. A farmer and his mum are the first people to attack Angel when he returns to town.
- And how does the climax wrap up? Everyone sitting down at the office to fill out mountains of paperwork for the destruction that had occurred during the shootout.
- Early in the movie, the Inspector tells Nicholas "You can't be the Sheriff of London," as in one man can't do the whole work and Nicholas should've been a team player (he also mentions earlier in that same scene that Nicholas' arrest numbers are 400% higher than everybody else in the Service). At the end, When he, the chief inspector and the sergeant try to get Nicholas to return to London, one of them mentions the figures have gone bad since Nicholas left (exactly 400%). Or, to put it simply, since London lost its sheriff. One of the deleted scenes further set up the joke by having Nicholas hearing a random news report on the radio that mentioned the four-hundred percent increase in London's crime rate.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: The Andys turn out to be this. When Frank first introduces Angel to them, they're just sitting in their office doing nothing, and Frank sarcastically says "Don't get up!" In a later scene, their weekly calendars and planners are shown to be completely empty, and they balk at the prospect of actually doing work, but they, like the rest of the Sandford Police Service are shown to excel at armed response.
- Broken Pedestal: Uncle Derrick Angel. 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 Brute: Michael. He's the only man in the final showdown who proves a serious threat without weapons.
- Buddy Cop Show: A homage to all the myriad flicks and programmes about cops stuck with each other.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Danny to Nicholas at first. Then he Took a Level in Badass...
- By-the-Book Cop: Nick values procedure and accountability, and considers his notebook to be his most vital piece of equipment. Even after he technically becomes a Cowboy Cop, he does paperwork.
- Call-Back: Numerous. Just a few examples follow:
Mr. Reaper: What you're going to do? Just walk in, and arrest the whole village?
- When Nick arrested Danny and bunch of drunk teens before even officially starting out his duty in Sandford, Sgt. Turner congratulated him for arresting the whole village, to which Angel replied "Not exactly." When the climax starts, this exchange happens:
Angel: Not exactly.
Cartwright: Everyone and their mums is packin' 'round 'ere.
- DC Cartwright tells Nick that there are more guns in the country than there are in the city:
Angel: Like who?
Angel: Who else?
Cartwright: Farmers' mums.
- Later, Nicholas beats up Mr. Reaper, a farmer, and is attacked with a shotgun by Reaper's mum.
Mrs. Roper: No luck catching those swans, then?
- Danny in Mrs. Roper's shop:
Danny: It's just the one swan, actually.
Mrs. Roper: No luck catching those killers, then?
- Later, when they start a murder investigation:
Danny: It's just the one killer, actually.
Mrs. Cooper:firing at Angel with a machine gun Fascist!
- At the start, Nicholas thinks he's being insulted when Joyce Cooper says "fascist," but she's solved her crossword clue; he responds with "hag," another crossword answer. Later, during the climactic gun battle:
Nicholas Angel:after subduing her Hag!
- Calling the Old Man Out: Danny does this to Frank when he's made aware of what his father's been up to, refusing to take orders from him any more and saying he's glad his mother is dead because she will never know what a monster Frank is.
- Calling Your Attacks: During the supermarket battle, after the police characters ram the butcher's counter with trolleys, the remaining supermarket workers counterattack with thrown fruit, explicitly yelling "FRUIT ATTACK!" as they do so.
- 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.
- Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, and Bill Nighy each make two very brief appearances as Nick's superior officers. Coogan's is even uncredited.
- Stephen Merchant appears as P.I. Staker.
- Camera Abuse: When Tim Messenger is murdered, blood splashes on the camera.
- Canine Companion: Police dog Saxon is this to PC Bob Walker, and the two are almost always seen together.
- Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Danny can't bring himself to shoot his own evil father in the back during the climax and instead fires off his handgun at the air in anger, parodying a movie that he and Angel were watching earlier in the movie.
- Captain Obvious: Combines with Ask a Stupid Question... when Angel asks P. I. Staker what the swan looks like. It's a swan. It's spelled out further in an outtake.
- Casting Gag: In addition to Timothy Dalton, several key members of the NWA were cast because their actors had famously played the bad guy at one point, thus hinting at their true nature in the film:
- Timothy Dalton (Simon Skinner) was Neville Sinclair in The Rocketeer.
- Billie Whitelaw (Mrs. Cooper) was the sinister Satanist nanny of Damien in The Omen.
- Stuart Wilson (Dr. Hatcher) was the corrupt cop/gun-runner in Lethal Weapon 3.
- Paul Freeman (Rev. Shooter) was Indiana Jones' rival archaeologist Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Ivan Ooze, the crazy purple (and notably, non-Sentai based) villain from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.
- And while not quite a bad guy, Edward Woodward (Professor Weaver) famously played another overly-straitlaced cop who found himself investigating sinister doings revolving around a fanatical cult of small villagers.
- 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.)
- Character Development: Nicholas and Danny both get this, though it's more obvious with the latter.
- Chekhov's Armoury: Nearly everything in the first half of the film sets up something for the second half. And in a literal sense, the arsenal in Webley's barn is confiscated and taken to the Evidence Room; Angel raids it before the climax.
- Chekhov's Army:
- The hoodies. Angel passes them by the fountain on his first night in Sandford. He later uses them to spray paint over the village's security cameras, and then to take out Annette Roper.
- 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 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 chooses 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...
- 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, and the weapons are both used in the epic battle near the end, Bernard with the swords and Frank with the guns.
- The Village of the Year competition is mentioned twice early on (first by the Met Inspector, then again by Tom Weaver). It comes back with a vengeance as it turns out the murders are to try and get rid of anyone who might spoil the village's chance of winning.
- Sandford's model village. Mentioned a few times early on (a sign Angel sees when he first arrives in Sandford, then mentioned in a jokey comment by DC Cartwright), then it appears at the end of the climax, where Angel fights Skinner and Frank is prevented from fleeing the town.
- Sgt. Popwell is mentioned by Frank to have had "A GREAT BIG BUSHY BEARD!" This is how his body is identified when Angel falls into the catacombs where the threats to the "Village of the Year" Award are disposed of
- The paper bin, which the Andys usually throw at people's heads (notably at Nick and Danny). Nick later uses it to knock out Weaver after he storms in and shoots Danny. He stumbles backwards into the Evidence Room, falling on the sea mine and causing it to detonate.
- Angel's notebook. He points out to Danny that it has saved his skin more times than he can care to mention. It later does exactly that when Danny stabs him, going hand-in-hand with the Chekhov's Skill involving a packet of ketchup hidden in the notebook.
- The church roof. The swear box in the Sandford police station is there to raise funds to repair the roof. At the village fête, part of a spire from the roof is removed and used to kill Tim Messenger.
- Two that are fired in quick succession: Angel's Japanese peace lily and the cuddly toy monkey he wins at the village fête. When Michael ambushes and attacks Angel in his hotel room, Angel distracts Michael with the monkey (according to Danny he has the mind of a child, so it works well), then smashes the peace lily on Michael's head, knocking him out.
- Mr. Treacher's coat. Angel points out early on to Danny that he may be using it to hide something. He is, namely a shotgun, which he uses in the climax.
- The stab-proof vest plays a part in Danny pretending to stab Angel to death when he's cornered by the NWA (as does Angel's notebook), and again when he's shot in the chest by the Reverend. Strangely enough, the vest seems as though it would be relevant again, but "misfires" — when Skinner rushes Angel with a box-cutter at the end, you expect it to come into play, but Skinner slips on something before he can actually stab Nicholas.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The swan. It doesn't kill Frank, but it **does** end the chase.
- 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.
- 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 100 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 forms the basis of act 3.
- He took and aced an advanced driving course, and participates in several high-speed pursuits. This culminates in out-driving bad guys when the swan shows up in the middle of the road - subverted though, in that Danny is driving at the time.
- Strangely, Angel's superb skill with bicycles never comes into play.
- After the knife wound went through his palm right at the start of the film, there are three shots of him exercising his hand, before bed. 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 an audible crunch. Very handy physio.
- 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 cliché. 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.
- Combat Pragmatist: In the model village scene, Aaron A. Aaronson is being used as a Human Shield by Skinner to fend Angel off. The boy gets out of that situation by biting Skinner's hand and making a run for it.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- One of the Turners sees Angel leave the station after his supposed death, riding a horse and 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!.
- Roughly 50% of Danny Butterman's lines.
- When introducing PC Thatcher:Danny: She's our only policewoman.
Nick: She's not a "policewoman."
Danny: Yes she is, I've seen her bra!
- When Nick discusses his childhood:Danny: So what made you want to become a policeman?
Danny: What made you want to become a policeman-officer?
- The Comically Serious: Angel, due to being the Only Sane Man.
- Coming of Age Story: The late bloomer variety for both Nicholas and Danny. Nicholas grew up too fast and never learned to relax and socialise with others, whereas his partner Danny still behaves like an immature child as he never emotionally left his father's side after the death of his mother. Through Nicholas, Danny learns to be responsible with his police work. While Nicholas learns to minimize the stress of being a police officer that he built up for himself since he was a kid.
- Concealment Equals Cover: Sure, a wooden table will protect you against a hail of bullets. Subverted in that a hole is blasted straight through it in between the heroes. Bullets also bounce ineffectively off the glass cover that protects the deli meats in the supermarket butchers.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Frank Butterman has brainwashed the townsfolk to write off any suspicious death as "just another accident." This also undermines the instincts of an imported officer like Angel or the unfortunate Popwell, who begin to doubt the reality of what they are seeing, especially when Frank pretends to be sympathetic to their suspicions and investigate the murders, only to seemingly turn up nothing.
- Conversational Troping: On a level above almost all other movies.
- Cool Horse: Angel rides one during the final act.
- Cool Shades: Which remain cool despite being bought off a convenience-store rack. They're 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: All of these brutal deaths that 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. And 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?
- Crapsaccharine World: Sandford is revealed to be this due to being a Town with a Dark Secret.
- Creepy Monotone: "The greater good..." SHUT IT!
- Creepy Twins: The butcher twins who work in the supermarket. In the climax they spend most of it throwing knives at the officers, one of which makes one of the Andies look like he's been hit in the face. It actually hit a jar of bolognese sauce next to him.
- Crossword Puzzle: Forms the core of a gag early in the movie, which later returns as an Ironic Echo.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
- The Sandford Police Service pull themselves together for the final battle; whatever their individual faults, they turn out to be really good at armed response.
- In particular, Tony Fisher seems to be inept, at best, (even Lampshaded in his introduction) until it comes to assaulting the supermarket, where his tactical analysis surprises even Angel.
- And of course, Danny, being the Deuteragonist, has this in spades. He's at first shown to be mostly inept (Even possibly by the Sandford Police's standards), being a Manchild obsessed with action movies with a hero worship of Nicholas despite a seeming inability to keep his mind on the job. But even before the third act he saves Nicholas' life, shows he's indeed been paying attention to all Nicholas was teaching him and spends the rest of the movie showing his mettle.
- Curse Cut Short:
"...Cousin Sissy can go and fu—"
- One that actually turns out to be a plot point: Nicholas cuts her short before she can say "himself," postponing The Reveal that "Cousin Sissy" is actually Simon Skinner.
- There's a subversion earlier when Angel's after the shoplifter; he mutters "you mothers—" only to cut to a group of mothers out for a stroll with their babies.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: Nicholas and Danny finally catch the swan and leave him in the backseat of their car. When Frank tries to take the car and escape, guess what stops him?
- 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.
- Dark Is Evil: The black hooded robes worn by the NWA.
- 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.
- Deadly Deferred Conversation: Tim Messenger tells Nick Angel to meet him behind the church for he has important information on the deaths that have been occurring about town. When Nick arrives, Tim is killed before his eyes.
- 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, the amount of paperwork one has to fill out, and how actual cop work mostly consists of busting small town troublemakers like underage drinkers and shoplifters. The second half gives us massive explosions, Guns Akimbo, firefights, car chases, police cars and every trapping every police movie has ever had.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Angel gradually learns to "switch off."
- Delinquents: Sandford's hoodie-wearing youths, who make life difficult for people by... sitting around wearing hoodies and sitting around at night, which the NWA 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 Rushing the shop owner who'd been trying to shoot him from her store.
- 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.
- Destroy the Product Placement: The supermarket scene features all kinds of stuff being destroyed, such as Kellogg's cereals packages, Bolognese sauce and some brands of frozen peas.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Simon Skinner, who makes ominous veiled threats every time he's on, complete with appropriate music and chilling demeanour. 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.
- Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: It's pretty likely that the NWA didn't need to do what it does to win Village of the Year. Naturally, part of it is that they want to remove any possibility of losing face, but their actions (once discovered, anyway) undoubtedly cause a lot more damage to the town's reputation than any of the people they killed.
- Dirty Old Man: PC Walker doesn't say much, but the stuff he does is pretty dirty. "Tits."; "Cocks."
- Dirty Cop: Insp. Frank Butterman is one of the ringleaders of the NWA.
- Disappointed by the Motive: Angel, although "horrified" is more accurate, as he discovers that the murders the The Conspiracy committed was not because of a real estate scam like he theorized, but rather for small personal flaws in the victims.Angel: These people died for no reason! No reason whatsoever!
- Disney Death: Danny himself near the end.
- 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 Alliance deemed a threat to the town's perfect reputation. For example, Tim Messenger, the newspaper editor, was killed because he had a habit of making typos, and the actress was killed because she had a most peculiar laugh.
- And also inverted. After Danny almost drunkenly runs over Angel, he's punished by... having to buy the other officers ice cream for a month.
- When Angel and Danny start taking down the NWA members, Frank orders Angel's arrest and orders Danny to step away from him. Danny refuses, stating he won't take orders from Frank any more. Frank promptly orders Danny's arrest as well as Angel's.
- While the Mooks from the Butcher Counter are dangerous enough to warrant harsh attack(as they hurl cutlery at the police officers, barely missing one of the Andy's) from behind their bulletproof counter), the Stock Boys who are only hurling fruits at the police are fired at with shotguns before Angel and Danny chase after Skinner and Frank.
- 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 humour.Doris: I've had my top off in a lay-by a couple of times.
- When the duo are carrying the heavily inebriated George Merchant to his home.Danny: Hey, we did get a little drunk! Get it, 'coz he's little and he's drunk.
- PC Bob Walker ruining Doris' inappropriate humour.
- Doomed Appointment: Tim telling Nick about meeting him after a village fair, and promptly having his head imploded. "Tim! Your number's up!"
- Doomed Predecessor: Angel is replacing Sgt. Popwell, who suffered a nervous breakdown and apparently committed suicide. Turns out he made much the same discoveries as Angel does later in the movie, but wasn't fortunate to survive the NWA's attempt on his life.
- 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 cheeky bastard.
- Dragon Their Feet: After the shootout, when seemingly every villain has been arrested, and the team is finishing their "considerable amount of paperwork," Tom Weaver storms in with a Blunderbuss.
- 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.
- Simultaneously played straight and subverted when a shotgun slide is racked to threaten Angel and Danny; the subversion part is that, unlike most examples, the gun was already loaded and a round is clearly ejected.
- Droste Image: That shot of Simon Skinner's smiling face in front of a photo of himself smiling. The first shot of the movie is similar: Angel walks up to the camera and, scowling, holds up his badge which includes his ID photo, which has the same scowl. Both shots were created by copy-and-pasting the actors' heads onto the photos in post-production.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After Nicholas' original accusation falls apart, he gloomily has to concede one of the ridiculous explanations to cover up the murders (despite the fact that it took place right in front of him), and takes a big gulp of the glass of wine in front of him.
- Dual Wielding: Employed impressively early, with pens, and later played straight with handguns.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Angel has this reaction in the pub when Fisher tells him, "Nobody's going to stab you in here, Sergeant. Not a member of the public, anyhow." Unamused, Angel tells him that he has firsthand experience of been stabbed and it is definitely not funny.
- 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 Angel...
- Dutch Angle: Used the first time the Sea Mine appears, once it starts making ominous grinding noises.
- 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.
- Empathic Environment:
- It's pouring with rain when Angel and Danny snap at each other after Tim Messenger's death.
- When Angel finally figures out the truth and the dark nature of the town, it's the dead of night.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Nick's original accusation, and what drives him. The truth is far, far more silly... and dangerous.
- Epic Fail: After seeing Angel jump three fences and somersault a fourth during the chase scene, Danny runs straight towards the first fence to try and jump it, only to crash straight through it.
- Establishing Character Music: Angel is introduced via a montage set to "Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant.
- Euphemism Buster: Pretty much the only time Bob speaks, it's to translate Doris's double entendres.
- "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.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Simon Skinner has his cousin, Leslie Tiller. He is the only one to show any semblance of regret at her death, saying that her death was a terrible shame when Angel uncovers the conspiracy. Not that it stopped him from letting the NWA kill her.
- Roy and Mary Porter are part of the NWA and married, as are Joyce and Bernard Cooper.
- And before he's revealed as evil, Frank has his son, Danny. In fact, it was his wife's suicide that led to the conspiracy in Sandford in the first place.
- Everybody Did It: Or, at least, all of those in power.
- Everyone Is Armed: Angel confiscates scores of unlicensed arms, and the NWA still has a small army's worth.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: The citizens of Sandford wish Angel would stop worrying about these supposed murders and deal with that pesky Living Statue. The Living Statue even ends up dead because the NWA hates him so much.
- Evidence Dungeon: While fleeing the NWA at the castle, Angel discovers a basement full apparently of all their previous victims. However, Danny claims this can't be relied upon as evidence because they'll "make it disappear."
- Evil Old Folks: The NWA, consisting mostly of the "old guard" of the town, commit multiple murders for the sake of a contest.
- 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 bike, and is one of two characters to actually hit Nicholas.
- Evil Is Hammy: Skinner is played with so much gusto the viewer practically expects him to start twirling his moustache and tying women to railway tracks. This is subverted when it's revealed he didn't have anything to do with the murders and then Double Subverted when it's finally revealed that both he and half of the village were in on them. He may not have been the one who actually did all of the killings, but may have assisted in a couple of them.
- Evil Is Petty: The true reasons behind all the murders are generally both silly and, above all else, extremely banal, though the murderers consider them to be Serious Business. Martin Blower was killed for being a bad actor, Eve Draper was killed for having an affair with Blower and an Annoying Laugh, George Merchant was killed for having a modern-style home that clashes with the local rustic aesthetic, Tim Messenger was killed because of his awful spelling and for running tabloid-esque tripe in the local newspaper.
- Exact Words:
Sgt. Nicholas Angel: Because "accident" implies that there's no-one to blame!note
- The first thing the Sergeant says to Angel is "Hello Nicholas. How's the hand?" When Nicholas tells the Sergeant he'd like to speak to the Inspector, the Sergeant assures him "You can speak to the inspector but I promise you he will tell you exactly the same thing as I have." Cut to the Inspector saying "Hello Nicholas. How's the hand?"
- Let's just say Danny was being completely honest about using his notebook. He uses it for flipbook animations.
- Reverend Shooter's lines of "Someone's in for a surprise at 3:00, ladies and gentlemen" at the village fête. It foreshadows the death of Tim Messenger.
- When Danny asks Angel about why the use of traffic collision instead of accident while they are cordoning off the site of the Blower car crash, Angel (who just had a conversation with an incredibly suspicious Skinner) ominously says:
- When Martin Blower states that he and Eve Draper are starring in a homage to "William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet", he doesn't mean it as in Romeo and Juliet the play by William Shakespeare; he literally means William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, as in the film William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet by Baz Luhrmann.
- 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.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The movie has a fairly long runtime and a complex plot filled with lots of action and deduction, but a close inspection shows that it takes place over less than a week (minus the Distant Epilogue and some flashbacks early on). Nicholas is sent to Sandford in the opening scene and arrives there late at night. The next evening, he's invited to an NWA meeting where Joyce mentions that a local woman has given birth to twins. The night before the climactic shootout is established as being only a few days later, when Joyce mentions that same woman has named her twins and scheduled their christening.
- Eye Take: Angel's reaction to the Romeo & Juliet play.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- Angel 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. 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.
- It seems like Angel and Danny constantly miss spotting the killer, though it's partially excusable—the first time the killer was at the end of a dark alley, and the second had both men a bit tipsy.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: Frank shoots down a chandelier in the pub to escape. Subverted in that it doesn't fall on anyone and is meant as a distraction.
- False Utopia: Sandford is not as nice as it seems.
- False Reassurance: Frank telling Angel that "there hasn't been a recorded murder in Sandford for over 20 years!" Because all of the murders were recorded as "accidents."
- Felony Misdemeanour:
- Everyone murdered in Sandford suffered an "accident" for petty reasons like being a bad actor, 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.
- A woman is murdered for trying to move; the NWA didn't want her sharing her gardening talents with another community. It turns out she was NWA also, but still. Then there are the Travelling Irish. The NWA even kill the travellers' dogs for pooping in the streets. Brutal.
- Crossed with Values Dissonance. The pub owners allowed teens to drink alcohol despite clearly being underage, note but Weaver and the rest of the NWA are very concerned with minor or even nonexistant offences, 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!
- Although Fridge Logic does kick in when you consider how they killed the kids anyway after Nicholas arrests them.
- A Fête Worse than Death: The main plot. Humorously, the phrase appears word for word on a newspaper.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Angel with the other cops after the climax. Throughout much of the movie, he's constantly butting heads with and exasperated by them, but at the end he's loosened up considerably, is willing to join in the jokes, and is shown having a laugh with them over paperwork.
- Firing in the Air a Lot: Mocked and then played straight, in an homage to Point Break (1991) (which was even shown in the friggin' film...)Danny: Have you ever fired your gun in the air and gone, "ARGHHH!"?
Nicholas: No, I have never fired my gun in the air and gone, "ARGHHH!"
- Following in Relative's Footsteps: Played with somewhat. After opening up to Danny, Nicholas talks about being inspired to be a policeman by his uncle Derek, who was a sergeant in London's Metropolitan Police. However, good old Uncle Derek was later revealed to be a Corrupt Cop, but rather than letting the disillusion him, Nicholas instead made of a point of trying to be everything he believed a good cop should be.
- Foreshadowing: As is common with Edgar Wright's writing style, everything in the first 3/4 of the movie foreshadows something that happens later in the movie. Everything. You can watch the movie 5 times and still find something new.
- In the very first scene, Nicholas protests his transfer saying, "With respect, sir, you can't just make people disappear." The Chief Inspector retorts, "Yyyyes, I can. I'm the Chief Inspector."
- Nicholas and Joyce Cooper's first conversation (while she's doing crosswords), besides being repeated later during their shootout, also has Joyce being the first to foreshadow what's going on with Sandford when Nicholas corrects her that the word in her crossword is "Fascism" not "Fascist."Joyce: "Fascism"... Wonderful.
- Ever wonder where Mr. Webley found all those firearms? They're the arsenal of the NWA, found from secret stashes all around Sandford.
- A conversation fairly early on:Andy C: Everybody and their mums is packing 'round 'ere.
Nicholas: Like who?
Andy W: Farmers.
Nicholas: Who else?
Andy C: ...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 the shoplifter who will be busted 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. A big gun, specifically.
- Danny's ketchup packet trick comes in very handy when he "kills" Nicholas to get him away from the NWA.
- After watching Point Break (1991), 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?
- "The law's the law, and they'll have to go."
- "No one's gonna stab you here, Sergeant... not a member of the public, anyhow."
- "Take out all the little people, you get to waltz off with the cuddly monkey."
- 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." And Tim Messenger will get it.
- Reverend Shooter announcing "Tim, your number's up!" at the tombola.
- While this is going on, Messenger is talking to Leslie Tiller, who is about to take her gardening talents to another town, an act that would be very easy to see as a betrayal.
- Wainright says he bets Angel can't wait to jump into Sergeant Popwell's grave. Angel says that he's not jumping into anyone's grave...but he does end up accidentally jumping into a crypt with Popwell and several other corpses in it.
- The model village sign Angel sees upon first arriving in Sandford. The end of the climax occurs at the model village, and it also works as a play on words regarding how Sandford has won Village of the Year so many times.
- Further reinforced by one of the Andys accusing Angel of wanting to "Fuck off the Model Village." Angel does just that figuratively (destroying the perfect village image the NWA enforced over Sandford) and literally (the final fight in the Model Village, which gets damaged).
- Skinner forgiving Peter for stealing biscuits foreshadows crime being ignored in the village, and Skinner having a part in their real justice system.
- While Frank Butterman is giving Angel the tour of the station, he notices Angel staring at an old photograph of himself, Danny and his wife dressed as stereotypical "cowboys and Indians" and remarks that he's a fan of Westerns. Cue the finale, where a lone lawman rides into the centre of town on horseback and we find that Frank's gun of choice is a revolver.
- Nicholas gets two calls from someone in London in the film's second half. It turns out to be the Met in London when their Reassigned to Antarctica plan turned into a Reassignment Backfire.
- At the start of the film Nick has difficulty finding his ex Janine due to having trouble discerning differences between men and women who dressed the same. While played off for laughs it shows that he has no notion that the true killers are both men and women who dressed the same. Costing him his entire investigation until the slip of the tongue by the shopkeeper.
- For Want of a Nail: Of all the towns Nick was assigned to, it had to be Sandford, Gloucestershire where coincidentally some murders are going on. And of course the NWA had murdered Sgt. Popwell when he came too close to uncovering the conspiracy.
- Foul Waterfowl: Angel and Danny chase an escaped swan after they're tasked with finding it by the owner. They still have it in their police car when they face off with the bad guys, meaning that the swan attacks one when he tries to escape.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Several involving the Funny and Meaningful Background Events.
- The commendations on Angel's wall are for his exemplary acts of heroism for Operations Crackdown, Shakedown and Takedown.
- 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," "Disloyal," "Indecisive" and "Lacks Leadership Skills."
- The first movie in the Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead can be very briefly seen in the DVD Bucket in the Supermarket, renamed "Zombies Party" with a price sticker covering Simon Pegg's face.
- A shopkeeper asks Nick "any luck finding those killers?" - in the very corner of the shot is a poster of the album Hot Fuss by The Killers.
- Skinner has a brother called Stephen, according to the Skinner family tree in the Sandford Citizen.
- Freeze-Frame Introduction: Nicholas Angel is introduced stomping up to the camera from a long way away, only to hold up his police badge into the camera for a few moments which displays his exact glowering face, as a voice-over narration states his name and backstory.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While most of the culprits of the murders did it for the petty reason of making sure their village wins the 'Village of the Year' award by killing off anyone who might undermine its reputation, the only one who at least has a Freudian Excuse is Frank Butterman. His wife killed herself after Sandford lost the 'Village of the Year' award she worked so hard to win because of travellers setting up. This doesn't justify his actions and his own son actually calls him out on it.Danny: (in tears) Mum is dead, Dad! For the first time in my life, you know, I'm glad! If she could see what you've become, I think she'd probably... kill herself all over again!
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Angel is actually despised by the other police officers in London because of how devoted Angel is to justice, which makes them feel redundant and inferior. His personal relationships were also indifferent to his move to Sandford, as they too were irritated by his dedication to the job. Angel is aware of this and is saddened by his inability to "switch off."
- Funny Background Event:
- After the sea-mine fails to detonate, when Angel is reporting Mr. Webley's weapons stash back to the station Webley and Danny can be seen cheerfully kicking and whacking it about behind him.
- 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.
- In the climax, as Nick rides into Sandford, strapped to the neck on a horse, determined to take care of business, he's just under the banner for Sandford's Village of the Year banner. Which says "Good Luck, Sandford!"
- An audio version. During Angel's fight in the supermarket with Lurch, Doris can be heard in the background shooting at the butchers and screaming "DIE YOU BASTARD TWINS."
- Fun with Acronyms: The NWA. Straight Outta Sandford? No, just the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance. And they really don't like this particular policeman... officer. While he doesn't come from the underground, he does end up there while running from them.
- Gaslighting: This is how Inspector Butterman deals with tenacious cops like Angel and his predecessor, Popwell: to discredit their suspicions by a combination of brainwashing the locals into disregarding any unusual death as an accident, and having the killers skulk around in dark cloaks just out of the officer's view in order to make it seem they're seeing things. Once they've become completely untrusted, they have a fatal "nervous breakdown."
- Genre Savvy: Against all odds, Danny's love of cop movies help him become an action hero in the climax as he shoots dramatically and delivers one-liners.
- Genre Shift: Quite famously. The first half is a deconstructing pisstake of those American buddy cop shows that littered The '90s (in a very English setting), and the second half is all these cliches being played again completely seriously... and awesomely.
- Gilligan Cut:
- With a twist.Nicholas: "P.I. Staker?" Piss taker! Come on!
[cut to Nicholas interviewing him]
Nicholas: Yes, Mr. Staker, we'll do everything we can...
- Later in the film, Nicholas tells Danny that Police work isn't about car chases - just as a car breaking the speed limit drives. Gilligan Cut After Nicholas chase it down.Danny: That was brilliant!
- When Frank asks Danny and Nicholas to represent the Police Department at the theater. Danny exclaims that it might be fun. Cut to both of them looking shocked at how awful the play is.
- With a twist.
- Glad I Thought of It: A Running Gag is Angel giving a set of complicated directions, then Fisher nodding and saying "what he said." this gets an Ironic Echo in the climax, when Fisher's the one to come up with a plan and Angel reinforces it with that same line.
- 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 every character either does a dramatic glasses pull or a dramatic riot helmet visor lift... or both.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Nicholas is pretty good at understanding the motives of most crimes, he can understand regular evil. When confronting the masterminds of the plot he lays out a very rational if amoral plan to enrich themselves with a few targeted murders. What he can't even begin to comprehend is the pettiness that comes from killing dozens if not hundreds of people over the years, including children, just to win a meaningless contest each year. Sgt Angel goes from calm and collected to completely baffled and yelling at them in under a minute.
- Good Policing, Evil Policing: Sgt. Nicolas Angel finds himself opposing Inspector Frank Butterman, the Chief of the Sandford police, who covers up several murders by making them look like accidents to protect Sandford's pristine reputation.
- The Great British Copper Capture: The source of much of Danny Butterman's annoyance is that he's never handled a gun in a real situation - he gets to in the final act of the film, and this trope happens at least four times when he goes up against other officers - the last time with his father.
- Guns Akimbo:
- By a schoolteacher. Riding a bicycle.
- And the priest.
- 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.
- Headdesk: Nicholas does this at one point. Because maybe they were all just accidents.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: One possible interpretation for Leslie Tiller moving away and her death. She was part of the conspiracy but was leaving the town and the NWA. Skinner does seem rather emotionless when he says he's paying for her funeral. She gets killed before Nick can determine if she was redeeming herself.
- "Hell, Yes!" Moment: In the climax, two significant moments happen:
- Danny slowly gains a grin as he sees Nick returning while armed to the teeth, and firing on the NWA with ease. This motivates him to help.
- Danny saves Nick by knocking over the bike-riding schoolteacher with the use of a car door. Nick hands him a rifle and says, "Now that's what I'm talking about."
- Hero with Bad Publicity: A lot of the townsfolk try to make Angel look neurotic and insane. That's because they're in on the murders.
- Heroism Motive Speech: When Danny finally gets Nicholas to open up to him, Nicholas reveals that his obsession with being a model police officer was inspired by his uncle Derek's (who was also a policeman) gift of a police pedal car when Nicholas was five years old. Even when Derek was later imprisoned for selling drugs, Nicholas' desire to uphold law and order only grew stronger.
- He's Back!: After being nearly killed and run out of town, Angel drives most of the way to London before stopping at a convenience store, having an epiphany, buying some Cool Shades, and returning to Sandford to clean up the place via liberal application of More Dakka.
- Heroes Gone Fishing: Even before Angel learns to switch off he does this on occasion, as he likes to tend to his Japanese peace lily, and on his first morning in Sandford he's out for a morning jog.
- The Sandford Police Service go to the pub on Angel's first day, much to Angel's consternation, since he wants to work.
- Danny has a habit of doing this even on the job, as he enjoys getting things from the shop like Cornettos, checking out the DVDs at Somerfield, and when we first see him he's enjoying a few pints in the pub. He tries to get Angel to do this too by taking him to the pub after they confiscate Webley's haul, where they both consume a few pints. And then when they get back to Danny's place, Danny gets them both to watch Point Break (1991) and Bad Boys II.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Nicholas and Danny, as well as the two Andys, qualify for this trope.
- Heroic Bystander: While keeping them out of the line of fire, Angel recruits the hoodies to spray-paint the cameras, as the first line of attack. They comply happily and distract the shop lady when she pins down Angel from a window.
- Hidden Depths: Tim Messenger is fairly bumbling, annoying and a bit too eager for juicy headlines, but he did investigate the recent deaths well-enough to conduct an impressive theory about the murders even though he was wrong about the motive, and was going to bring it to Angel rather than just print it himself.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: The meeting with the chief inspector reveals how the other police officers are not fond of Angel and are happy to see the back of him once he gets forcibly promoted to Sandford.
- His Name Is...: Tim Messenger tells Angel to meet him at 3 o'clock, which is the exact time when he gets murdered.
- Hollywood Atheist: Averted with protagonist Nicholas Angel, who says he's open to religion, though not entirely convinced in a brief conversation with the town vicar (leading the vicar to label him agnostic instead), and is the most morally upright person shown, to the point of following every rule to the letter.
- 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 hand and make a break for it.
- Also, Angel uses Danny as a shield/hostage, only for the Big Bad to call his bluff.
- 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.
- The NWA kills people for even the slightest offence, yet they're fine with one of their own (Michael) being a result of incest, if what Danny says is true.
- The bartender and wife are member of the NWA yet they served alcohol to the teenagers that later were killed because of drinking before the legal age limit, meaning the two broke the law at least as much as them (actually, under English law serving alcohol to someone underage is a more serious crime than attempting to purchase alcohol underage).
- Hypocritical Humour:
- The priest yelling for Angel to stop the violence, then telling him to "fuck off, grasshopper" and whipping out dual pistols when Angel says that right and wrong are more important. He then yells "Jesus Christ!" when he gets shot.
- 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).
- Joyce calls Angel a fascist while she fires her BFG at him. She's part of a conspiracy that rules Sandford through false information and heavy-handed violence.
- PC Doris Thatcher, who makes blunt sexual jokes throughout the whole film, calls Angel a "dirty bastard" at the end once he's loosened up a bit and makes a risqué remark. Played with in that she's clearly making the joke at her own expense.
- Murdering troublemakers is justified for the greater good but killing a swan is a line the NWA won't cross. note
- I Choose to Stay: In the aftermath of the battle between Angel and Sanford's NWA, Angel's former superiors invited him to return to London. Angel politely declined, having grown attached to Sanford and his new colleagues. Flash-forward one year later, Angel became the head of the Sanford Police force, And the Adventure Continues.
- 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 thought bubble).
- Idyllic English Village: The film is a satire on the caché given to such villages by British society at large since the NWA are fully prepared to protect its status as Village of the Year with a xenophobic and murderous zeal.
- 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.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Danny's misuse of an air rifle at the church fête results in Dr. Hatcher being shot in the leg and taken away for treatment.
- Impaled Palm: Constable Angel is stabbed in the palm by Santa Claus.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: 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. 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. Justified, as she (and all the other NWA members) are used to killing with blades, so they likely have no experience with firearms. They simply just happen to own a shitload of guns. Of the dozens of shots fired, only three actually hit Nicholas, and none do much damage.
- 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 Cold War surplus office furniture—and exactly 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.
- Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight with the hoodies and Aaron A. Aaronson in the climax, but horrifyingly averted with the kids Nicholas kicked out of the pub his first night in Sandford, who turn up in the crypt.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: What tips Angel off regarding the murders—the cashier says killers, when everyone believed there was only one.
- In-Camera Effects: A hand-cranked camera is used during part of the shootout, therefore allowing both undercranking and overcranking to be used for added dramatic effect.
- Insane Proprietor: We never see any TV ads, but Skinner puts on this persona when first meeting Angel:My discounts are criminal!
- 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.Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman?
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
- "Traffic collision; 'accident' implies there's no one to blame." (Obviously, that one's not so much meant for comedy.note 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!
- Instantly Proven Wrong: When the cops arrive to storm the supermarket. Nicholas heads in to make sure they are here, over Doris' protest of him going in alone. Danny turns to her and tells her not to worry, "He knows what he's doing." Cue Nicholas being tossed out the window by Lurch.
- 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.
- "Fascist." "Hag."
- No More Than One Schoolchild Allowed in the Shop At a Time.
- "Do you want anything from the shop?"
- "Crusty jugglers!"
- "A great big bushy beard!!!" A literal echo.
- "That Sergeant Angel's back... check out his horse." note
- "We begged him to make his house in keeping with the village's rustic aesthetic."
- "Very good. What he said."
- "No luck catching those swans/killers, then?" "It's just the one swan/killer, actually."
- "What He said."
- Irony: When Skinner attacks Angel in the model village, he slips on a model Somerfield van (the store he runs) and his chin is impaled on the model church roof. He was presumably the one who dropped a piece of the real church roof on Tim Messenger's head.
- Also, three of the killers, who passed off the murders as accidents, end up becoming victims of actual accidents. See Laser-Guided Karma.
- Nick Angel, whose characterization (and not least his name) is steeped in Christian symbolism, identifies as agnostic. In an early script, he was Buddhist, hence the "Fuck off, Grasshopper!" line.
- In the Hood: The killers hang around in very conspicuous black cloaks. As a contrast, there's a gang of hoodies briefly seen throughout the film in light grey hoods painting graffiti.
- I Take Offence 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.
Nicholas: Police work is not about proper action! Or shit!
- It's Personal: Two examples with Danny, a third with Andy Cartwright, all during the climax.
- One of Amanda Paver's gunshots hits Angel in the shoulder. Danny sees this from his police car, and he angrily invokes a Toyota Tripwire moment by flinging open his car door and flipping her off her bike. Then he has a Big "NO!" upon seeing Reverend Shooter shoot Angel, and shoots him before seeing that Angel is OK thanks to his stab vest.
- The third example occurs when Angel, Danny and the rest of the Service (bar Frank) storm the supermarket. One of the butcher twins throws a knife, smashing a jar of bolognese. Andy Cartwright screams "ANDY!", thinking the other Andy has been hit in the face, and angrily opens fire on the twins, before Andy Wainwright shouts he's OK, and the red stuff on him is Bolognese sauce.
- It Was Here, I Swear!: Discussed. Angel says he can bring the Met to Sandford and get the NWA arrested when Danny tells him to leave town. Danny refutes the idea by bringing up this trope, saying that the NWA will simply make the evidence disappear.
- 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. Apologies for the spoiler. It has been out for 33 years.
- Jerkass: The NWA is a spectacularly frightening example of this — murdering people for years for the dumbest, most petty of reasons, like hating their laughs, their crappy writing or the fact that they live in campers certainly can't paint them as anything less. It also proves that their claims of doing it all for the greater good for Sandford to be utter hypocrisy.
- 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.
- The Andys. Despite all their condescension and jerkassery, they're the first to side with Angel once he manages to prove what's really going on.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: Invoked: when ordered to drop his shotgun, Danny deliberately does so in order that it will go off and hit his assailant in the foot. Cue Nick's quip: "You're a doctor. Deal with it."
- 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: Angel's Reassignment to Antarctica is coupled with a promotion to sergeant, to disguise it as a reward. It comes back to bite them when their crime rates skyrocket because they weren't as skilled as Nicholas.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor Eve Draper, who was killed solely because she had an annoying laugh.
- Knight Templar: The NWA, regarding the Village of the Year award. Anyone that could possibly jeopardize Sandford's chances of winning is summarily murdered.
- Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: "That's Auntie Jackie's sister's brother's boy." That he doesn't just say "my cousin" suggests complicated relationships... or just Rule of Funny.
- Kung-Foley: Exaggerated as part of the parody of action tropes. For Detective Angel, even filling out a report is an action sequence, complete with whooshing sounds and pen-clicking that sounds as serious as a shotgun being cocked.
- Large Ham: Simon Skinner, the supermarket proprieter.
- With repeated viewings, it becomes apparent that Timothy Dalton decided the best way to play his deliciously evil character was to ham it up like Shatner. Everything from his tone of voice to his facial expressions to his body language is carefully calculated to take it up to eleven, and it's also plain that Dalton is absolutely loving every minute of it. Not many of his roles give him a chance to kick it up to the stratosphere like this one, and he was not about to let the opportunity pass.
- "SWANNNNNN!" That line alone should have earned him an Oscar.
- Danny, who is really enthusiastic about everything. Him imitating the Firing in the Air a Lot scene of Point Break and later doing it himself is a standout.
- Angel himself hams it up at the end with his Guttural Growling and his hardboiled attitude.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- After covering up their victims' deaths as "accidents," three of the villains at the end of the film wind up becoming victims of actual accidents.
- Also for the three inspectors at the Met who transferred Nick to Sandford because he made everyone look bad; at the end of the film, they ask him to return, as crime has grown incredibly since they got rid of him. Partly because he likes Sandford now, and partly for revenge, Nick turns them down.
- Last-Second Chance: Nicholas offers this to Lurch.Nicholas: Come on, Michael! Is this really what you want?
- 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 is 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.
- Leap and Fire: As with so many buddy cop movie tropes, lampshaded in the first act and played straight in the third. Nicholas and Danny hit jack-all when they actually try it.Danny: Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?
Danny: Have you ever fired one gun whilst jumping through the air?
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After the shoot-out moves into the pub, the remainder of the Sandford PD arrives to arrest Nick and Danny. Nicholas convinces them the truth of the NWA conspiracy.Nicholas Angel: You can be real police officers and help us bring an end to this absurd story!!
- Let's Get Dangerous!:
- Happens symbolically with Nicholas, who was already dangerous but gets over his reluctance for gunplay in order to play Cowboy Cop in the last act, and overtly with Danny, who doesn't show any particular aptitude for police procedure until called on to behave like an action hero, which he does magnificently.
- Played straight with the rest of the police force, who dress up in riot gear when they see a shootout between the townsfolk and one cop. When Nick convinces them that they've been brainwashed, they turn against Butterman and help take down the rest of the NWA.
- Light Is Good: When Angel is jogging through Sandford early on, he is dressed almost entirely in white.
- Like Father, Like Son:
- Frank and Danny whenever they're seen in Wild West garb.
- Tony Fisher is seen with his son at the church fête, both with Spider-Man face paint and eating ice lollies. They also both have brown hair and glasses.
- Literal Metaphor: There's a sign labelled "Model Village" describing Sandford and an actual model city appears.
- Little "No": Tom Weaver during his Oh, Crap! moment when the sea mine is about to blow up with him underneath it.
- Lock-and-Load Montage: Nick takes very nearly the police station's entire safe full of contraband weapons; when he stomps out he sounds like he's wearing Powered Armor. The rest of the officers grab his spares 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. This does not happen in the US release, due to Universal releasing the film through its 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.
- The Lost Lenore: Frank's wife and Danny's mother, Irene, who killed herself when it seemed her efforts to get Sandford to win the Village of the Year award years before went to waste the night before the judges were to arrive thanks to some travelers setting up. After that, Frank was never the same man again.
- Made of Iron: The only victim of the sea mine exploding in the police station and the building collapsing is Tom Weaver since he was directly under the mine. Angel shrugs it all off and Danny survives long enough to receive medical attention despite being shot before the explosion.
- Malaproper:Nicholas: Your dad has appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner!
Danny: [panicked] But he's not Judge Judy and executioner!
- Malicious Misnaming:
- The other officers in the Sandford Police Service (minus Danny) call Angel Angle after the misspelling of his name in the Sandford Citizen.
- The Andys to Angel a few times, calling him and Danny "Sergeant Knicker-less Asswipe and Constable Fanny Batterbum" after the death of George Merchant, and one of them calls him "Nichol-arse" at the church fête.
- Married to the Job: Nick's defining trait, which ruined his past relationship with Janine and nearly wrecks his new one with Danny.
- Mathematician's Answer:Nicholas: When's your birthday?
Underage Drinker: 22nd of February.
Nicholas: What year?
Underage Drinker: Every year.
- Mauve Shirt: Most of the living characters who later turn up dead are this. Exceptions include the Romani travellers, the underage drinkers and the Living Statue.
- Meaningful Background Event: The NWA members are often in the background of wide shots, and people who should have been there gradually... aren't, as the film progresses.
- Meaningful Echo: Nick's reason for not wanting to leave London. Repeated when he turns down the offer to come back:Nick: No offence sir, but I kinda like it here.
- Meaningful Name:
- 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, but his swan causes a car crash).
- 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.
- Of course, Blower also accurately describes the quality of his performance at the theater.
- PC Doris Thatcher, the only woman on the force, is most likely named for Margaret Thatcher, who was at the time the UK's first female Prime Minister (there's since two more, Theresa May & Liz Truss).
- 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.
- Nicholas Angel, the central character who is a police officer with strong set of moral principles. He was relocated to Sandford and discovers a horrible secret during his stay.Mrs. Cooper: It would appear that the heavens have opened
- Danny Butterman too, given he's an obese man (not his father, though).
- "Sandford, Gloucestershire" is the name given to the sample town that appears in the UK Police Service's tests, showing that Angel is being sent to the UK's idea of an archetypical podunk Middle-of-Nowhere Street.
- 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 is a collection of citizens of a tiny town (the local doctor and several store owners, led by the Chief of the constabulary) who are murderously driven to keep their town pristine.
- Minsky Pickup: Used at the conclusion of the Romeo and Juliet production to slap a happy ending onto a tragedy - everybody dancing to The Cardigans' "Lovefool" (another indication that the production was actually aiming for Romeo + Juliet).
- Misfit Mobilization Moment:
- Angel persuading the rest of the coppers to take on the NWA.
- A downplayed version occurs when Angel arms the teen hoodies with spray paint so they can block out the NWA's security cameras. They also help take down the shopkeeper by entering her store at once and distracting her with the automatic doorbell. This had taken up a bigger part of the plot in earlier drafts of the script.
- Missed Him by That Much: Both CI Frank and Tom Weaver are too wrapped up in their newspapers to notice Angel walk right pass them.
- Missing Mom: Danny's mother died in a traffic collision many years before the film started. She died when she drove her car into Sandford Gorge, and her death led to the conspiracy going on in Sandford.
- 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 humour value.
- Sergeant Angel just finished 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 hilarious.
- Upon rumbling the people behind it all, Angel escapes through a tunnel filled with the skeletons of their victims. Pretty creepy... until he happens across the body of the living statue, who is overacting his own death, and, as a result, looks far too ridiculous to sustain the tension.
- Motive Misidentification: Combined with Entertainingly Wrong. "You see, as much as I enjoyed your wild theories, Sergeant, the truth is far less complex."
- 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 their victims were responsible for.
- Mugshot Montage: Happens whenever someone is arrested, accompanied by heavy metal music that serves as a Greek Chorus. A particularly long one occurs at the end due to the huge number of suspects, each of the antagonists in the sorry shape the climax left them in.
- Mundane Made Awesome: This movie features dual-wielding pens, dramatic paperwork, dramatic hitting-somebody-over-the-head-with-a-peace-lily, dramatic travelling-across-England-on-the-train, dramatic leaving-the-apartment, dramatic putting-change-on-a-counter, dramatic saying "Cornetto," dramatic saying "Pub?", all with plenty of Whip Pans. 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."
- The overly-dramatic chasing-a-shoplifter, played up with all the classic high-speed on-foot thriller chase parkour, jitter cam, and fast-cuts. It even has a Sadistic Choice where Angel has to choose between chasing the shoplifter or going after the swan.
- Lampshaded when Blower gets pulled over for speeding in, what is possibly, the shortest high speed car chase ever.Danny: That was brilliant.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: The whole conspiracy. Sure, you could try to honestly be the best village to get the Best Village Award, or you could just kill everyone that makes your village not the best.
- Never the Obvious Suspect:Played with. Skinner is set up to be the murderer, with Sarcastic Confession, Obviously Evil and Returning to the Scene all present. Turns out, Skinner is not the murderer. The entire NWA (including Skinner) is.
- 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.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
- The NWA does this by having killed Popwell, thus opening up the position for Angel to take up.
- Annette Roper asks Danny, "No luck catching them killers, then?" when he and Angel go to her shop for Cornettos, giving Angel a "Eureka!" Moment that indirectly leads to him uncovering the truth. On top of that, Annette Roper is one of the killers herself.
- In the climax, the villains may have been able to spin Nick as being a cop that goes on a rampage except for one thing: they all not just return his fire but also instigate some of the confrontations. The rest of the police force isn't stupid enough to ignore that when they try to stop the shootout within the tavern. Nick manages to point out that the whole situation is absurd, and Danny backs him up.
- No Sense of Humour: 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, it's not until 45 minutes in that he laughs for the first time.
- No, You: A version that actually manages to be quite chilling, when Angel learns the truth behind The Conspiracy.Angel: I'm afraid you're going to have to come with me. You are all going to have to come with me!
Frank: No, Nicholas... I'm afraid it is you who is going to have to come with us.
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: And that's just the way the NWA like it.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: The Reverend. He says to the protagonist "Oh, fuck off, grasshopper!" and shoots him with a pair of derringers he had up his sleeves.
- Not Hyperbole: "Accidents happen every day!"
- Obsessively Normal: The NWA's real motive. Anything they view as a threat to the village's sterling reputation is met with lethal force.
- 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!"
- Occam's Razor: Invoked - incorrectly, as it happens - by Andy Wainwright.Angel: I'm just saying, things aren't always as simple as they look!
Wainwright: Most times, they are.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The black cloaked figure pulls this twice on Angel when fleeing from him after murdering Leslie Tiller, as in the blink of an eye, the figure is suddenly quite a distance ahead of him twice, first when they emerge into the open, and then after the figure makes it through a fence. Subverted, however, when it's later revealed there were multiple cloaked figures in the sequence, at the same time as Angel discovers the killers at the castle.
- 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.
- Off with His Head!: Averted. Nicholas threatens to do this to Danny to try and make Frank and the NWA back off. Frank calls his bluff.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Angel has one when Webley foolishly bangs the Sea Mine in his barn with his shotgun butt, and it starts ticking.
- Martin Blower has one in his last moments of life as the black cloaked figure is about to strike him dead.
- Angel at the village fête when he realises Tim Messenger is doomed.
- Angel when he hears a click from his hotel room door, and then when it's opened and the Black Cloaked Figure grabs him.
- Michael at the end of his fight with Angel before Angel knocks him out with his peace lily.
- Angel's face is basically frozen in horror for most of the Motive Rant scene, but it really sinks in when it turns out Frank is on in the conspiracy.
- The entire NWA has this reaction when Angel rolls back into town, on horseback no less, fully armed, after they thought he had died from being stabbed in the heart. Their faces really give off the sense of someone who has seen someone not only come seemingly Back from the Dead, but someone so relentlessly determined that they literally refuse to die.
- Michael when he slips on the wet floor in the supermarket and falls into a freezer.
- The twin butchers in the supermarket when the officers roll a line of trolleys at their counter.
- Even the swan gets one. Skinner yells, "SWAN!" when he sees it in the road as he and Frank are fleeing from Angel and Danny, causing it to honk in horror as the car approaches. Frank swerves to avoid the swan and the car flies into the model village.
- Frank while escaping the model village, before the swan attacks him from the backseat.
- A variation of this with Tom Weaver who goes "oh god no" right before the sea mine goes off. Also a Shout-Out, given the actor, 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. Angel has one as well right before Weaver says it.
- Ominous Latin Chanting:
- When Nicholas comes to arrest the killers, he finds the Neighbourhood Watch Association chanting "Bonum Communae Communitatis," Latin for "The common good of the community." It is the Latin motto of Sandford and it is also loosely translated as "The greater good of the community."
- "Dies irae, dies illa," can be heard in the run-up to Tim Messenger getting splattered. It means "Day of anger, day of wrath," and is part of a section used in the Requiem (Mass for the Dead/Funeral Mass). It serves as Foreshadowing for Tim's death being his punishment for inciting the NWA's wrath by attempting to "rat" on Sandford's conspirators/the highest authority.
- One-Hit Kill: Doris KOs a screaming shop assistant charging the group with a knife, using a handy "Wet Floor" sign.
- 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.
- Skinner, who has his lower jaw impaled on the model village's church spire, is 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.
- 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 a bit stiff.
- 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!'
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
- When Angel states his belief that the "accident" at the fête 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, both times with a sea mine. First, there's no explosion. Then, there's no time to run.
- Parental Incest: According to Danny, the reason Michael (aka "Lurch") has the mind of a child is because his mother and sister are the same person. Yarp.
- Pedal-to-the-Metal Shot: Used to demonstrate Nicholas' Character Development: He starts off as a By-the-Book Cop who always drives safely and avoids profanity, but towards the end of the film, he evolves into a mild case of a Cowboy Cop. In a particular scene, Nicholas jumps into a police car and yells "Punch. That. Shit!" to his partner Danny. The line is synced to a montage of Danny a) flipping on the blue lights, b) fastening the seat belt, c) flooring the gas pedal.
- The Perils of Being the Best: Judging by both Nicholas and his predecessor Sergeant Popwell, being the best cop in London means that the rest of force gets upset with you for making them look bad in comparison, gets them to unite against you and get you Reassigned to Antarctica/Kicked Upstairs. Tall Poppy Syndrome is always fun to wrestle with.
- Phrase Catcher: "The Greater Good." note
- Pocket Protector: Subverted, but not in the way you might expect. "It's ketchup."
- Police Are Useless: The police in Sandford are proven to be rather inept at their jobs, brushing off basic evidence of the murders as nothing more than a series of contrived accidents. Justified and subverted. It is revealed that the Neighborhood Watch Alliance — led by Inspector Butterman — are the ones behind the string of murders, having lulled the police officers into complacency. When Angel explains the situation and they see Inspector Butterman's unusual animosity to the situation, they all join Angel and they all manage to detain the conspirators.
- Possession Implies Mastery: The NWA expends a lot of ammunition trying to hit Angel, but really, when does a shadowy group whose MO is Make It Look Like an Accident ever actually want to run around killing their targets with loud firearms? Frank being the exception, of course.
- Post-Climax Confrontation: It seems that everyone just forgot about Tom Weaver. He did not.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Parodied. Nicholas kicks off the giant shooting spree in the last act with a casual "Morning."
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "It's not your village anymore!"
- 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: The Neighborhood Watch Alliance and Inspector Frank Butterman will keep the town neat and tidy and completely crime-free, For Great Justice, no matter how many corpses they need to hide away.
- Profanity Police: Literally, the Sanford Police Department has a swear jar and is very strict about the policy.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Michael, the trolley boy.Nicholas: Michael! Michael! Think for a moment—Is this what you really, really want?
Michael: [thinks for a moment] Yarp [yes].
Nicholas: (Sighs) Suit yourself. (Headbutt)
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- "GET! OUT! OF MY! VILLAGE!"
- "PUNCH! THAT! SHIT!"
- Punch Catch: Happens back to back in the climactic fight between Skinner and Angel.
- Punctuated Pounding: Skinner attacking Nicholas in the climax. "Get! Out! Of my! Village!"
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: After Angel catches the punch and gets ready to punch back: "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.
- Queer Flowers: The relevant lines and peace lily plotline originally meant for a cut female love interest were given to Danny. At the beginning of the film, Nicholas' ex-girlfriend complains he's Married to the Job and he'll someday find someone to open up to. This ends up being Danny, who gets Nicholas to loosen up, drink, laugh, and watch action movies. Danny is instantly a fan of Nicholas, staying loyal to him to the point of defying his own father. Word of God says the romantic implications were deliberate.Edgar Wright (replying to fanfic writers): "Me and [Simon Pegg] once wrote some Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman slash fiction. It was called HOT FUZZ."
- Real Joke Name:
- Sergeant Nicholas Angel receives a rather odd call:Caller: [on the phone, politely] Morning, the swan's escaped.
Angel: [looking around the office, certain it is a prank] The swan's escaped. Right, and where has the swan escaped from, exactly?
Caller: The castle.
Angel: Oh yeah, and who might you be?
Caller: Mr. Staker. Mr. Peter Ian Staker.
Angel: [annoyed] P.I. Staker? Right, PISS TAKER! COME ON!!
[Gilligan Cut to Angel, standing outside a castle in front of Mr. Staker]
Angel: Yes, Mr. Staker, we'll do everything we can.
- The Andies joke that if they need to interview a victim's clients, they may as well talk to everyone in the village, since he did business with everyone. They suggest opening up the phonebook and starting with Aaron A. Aaronson. At the end of the movie, Angel saves a boy who introduces himself as Aaron A. Aaronson; Angel does a Double Take.
- Sergeant Nicholas Angel receives a rather odd call:
- Really Gets Around: Doris Thatcher, given the double entendres and risqué comments made by and about her."I could've given you the tour; I've been round the station a few times!"
- Really 17 Years Old: Nicholas throws a bunch of underage drinkers who lied about their real age out of the bar.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Skinner studied ballet as a teenager.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Nick himself is this. When he stops Martin Blower from speeding, all he does is write down what Martin is saying in a notebook and letting him off with a warning. Much later, when the local journalist wants to talk to him, he goes at their appointed meeting time and finds his death rather suspicious. This gets him shot in the climax when he won't fire on a seemingly unarmed Reverend Shooter, and they try to talk each other down. Reverend Shooter reveals he had tiny pistols up his sleeves, but fortunately aims for Nick's bulletproof vest. As a result, Nick isn't injured, just knocked down.
- 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.
- The rest of the police as of the last act as they are quick to believe Angel and Danny about the conspiracy and then assist them. Even they can't ignore that the townsfolk drew the first shots on Angel.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Angel gives one to Danny after he decides to pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here after Tim Messenger is murdered. In particular, Angel calls him stupid and says he will never be a proper police officer until he understands that "there is always something going on." Danny responds with a small one of his own, shouting at Angel that he doesn't know how to switch off.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: The West Country, actually. And any time Angel tries to do actual police-work there, the Inspector gives him a bunch of busy-work instead (chasing swans, confronting a man clipping hedges that aren't his, etc.).
- Reassignment Backfire: As one of the film's major Brick Jokes, the crime rates go up in London while Nick is awaynote , leading to the people who gleefully kicked him out of town trying to beg Nick to please come back. Unfortunately, he kind of likes it here.
- 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 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 a red herring with the actual villain being one of the eccentric village types the protagonist encounters. Angel even constructs a plausible motive involving adultery, greed, envy, and a land deal threatening his business. It turns out that all the eccentric locals, including Skinner, are involved, but are doing these killings for incredibly petty reasons that in some way threaten 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.
- There is one character named James Reaper. Given the fact that the villain dresses up as The Grim Reaper, the audience might assume that he's the real killer. He's not the killer, but as a member of the NWA, he is one of the killers...
- 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.
- Reflexive Remark of Reverence: Whenever anyone in the cult utters the words "the Greater Good," someone nearby who's also in the cult will repeat "The Greater Good."
- 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.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Angel figures out Skinner is a villain thinking that he and the others were motivated by a property deal that would have ended Skinner's supermarket monopoly. They are indeed villains but their motives are just petty.
- Rouge Angles of Satin:
- Tim Messenger, the reporter from the local newspaper, is guilty of a lot of typos. Including the "angle" one. (Poor Nicholas.) This is the reason the council kills him."Morning, Angle!"
- Comes back in a classic Edgar Wright Mundane Made Awesome montage later, where we see Angel researching possible motives for the killings, and he circles all the newspaper's spelling mistakes. So he was closer to the motive than he realised.
- Tim Messenger, the reporter from the local newspaper, is guilty of a lot of typos. Including the "angle" one. (Poor Nicholas.) This is the reason the council kills him.
- Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: One of the murders involves a house exploding in such a manner that it looks like an accident.
- Rule of Symbolism: When the villain Frank Butterman delivers their Motive Rant, they are wearing an old-fashioned Victorian police uniform in contrast to Nicholas' modern plainclothes uniform, symbolizing their desire to preserve an old-fashioned, rustic image of Sandford.
- Rule of Three: When Danny and Angel go to Annette Roper's shop for Cornettos, she asks Danny, "No luck catching them killers, then?", to which Danny replies, "Um, it's just the one killer, actually." This echoes in Angel's head three times as he gets a "Eureka!" Moment.
- Running Gag:
- The swan.
- Dr. Hatcher getting shot in the leg.
- "Morning, Sergeant!"
- The hostage situations.
- 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."
- Repeat of the phrase, "The greater good." Whenever the phrase is mentioned, it is immediately repeated by someone in the vicinity, or by multiple people.
- Sarcastic Confession: Simon Skinner gives one to Nicholas Angel when they first meet.Skinner: Arrest me, I'm a slasher!... Of prices!
- Say My Name:
- Nicholas gives a shocked "Danny!" to Danny right before Danny stabs him.
- Frank goes "Angel" when he realizes that Nicholas is alive after Danny stabbed him.
- In the pub, Angel shoots the bear trap, causing it to fall on Roy Porter's head. Mary Porter's reaction is to scream, "ROY! Somebody call the police!"
- Andy Cartwright yells "ANDY!" when the other Andy seems to have been hit in the face. Andy Wainwright shouts back, "It's all right, Andy! It's just Bolognese!"
- And finally, when Skinner charges at Angel with the box-cutter, he gives a loud and very hammy "AAAAAAANGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!"
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Andys and Danny do this in the pouring rain after Tim Messenger's murder, where the Andys decide to go to the pub. When Angel calls them out on this, one of the Andys tells them that "not everyone's a murdering psychopath, and it's high time [he and Danny] realize that." Danny then decides to go home himself, causing an already-frustrated Angel to give him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Danny responds with a small one of his own, shouting at Angel, "You don't know how to switch off!", before running off, leaving Angel on his own.
- Serious Business: The "Village of the Year" 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.
- Sherlock Scan: At the beginning of the movie, after Angel first receives the news of his reassignment, he goes to say goodbye to his ex-girlfriend, a member of a forensics team, as she's in the middle of investigating a crime scene. After their discussion, in which said ex-girlfriend complains about his inability to "switch off," Angel makes an off-handed observation of the crime scene around them, unwittingly reinforcing the very point she had just made.
- Shoo the Dog: Danny fakes Nick's death and drives him out of town on the pretense of dumping the body. He bluntly tells Nick that he has to get back to London where it's safe, while in denial that his father is a murderer. Nick almost does it... until seeing a display of Danny's favorite movies makes him realize he has to go back.
- Shopping Cart Antics: Two huge chains of shopping carts are used as a Battering Ram.
- To Shaun of the Dead's fence jumping scene: This time the protagonist successfully jumps over the picket fences. The Deuteragonist...not so much.
- Also to Shaun of the Dead:Danny Butterman: You want anything from the shop?
Nicholas Angel: Cornetto.
- Blink and you'll miss it; there's a Shaun of the Dead DVD in the basket where Danny throws the Supercop DVD.
- And again, when Angel's stabbed by Danny—he's got red on him!
- Angel throws a paint can to knock out a fleeing robber in much the same way as "Crocodile" Dundee.
- 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/Catchphrase as this film ("Here come the Fuzz") that involved the investigation of a murder-extortion racket. Lastly, the place where the gypsies and "crusty jugglers" moved into was called "Callahan Park."
- Of course there are several to Point Break (1991) and Bad Boys II.
- The fact that Blower specifically refers to their Romeo and Juliet production as 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" shows they're actually adapting the Baz Luhrmann movie, and indeed, the two leads are wearing the exact same clothes of the party scene, and the closing deaths are followed by a Dance Party Ending featuring a song from that movie, "Lovefool."
- The giant arsenal of weapons is found at Ellroy Farms.
- Shown Their Work: A lot of police officers were consulted in the making of this film. 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 the official vocabulary guidelines really do require officers 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.
- To a lesser extent, swans are not sweet birds. They can injure a person if given a chance. Butterman finds this out the hard way in the climax.
- During the street shootout, Danny takes down Dr Hatcher by throwing his shotgun to the ground, causing it to discharge and hit him in the leg. The model of shotgun that Danny throws is a Winchester 1300, a model that's specifically warned to not be safe from accidental discharge due to dropping.
- If you know much about the subject, the cops actually do use decent CQC tactics during the supermarket sequence. They cover intersections, peek corners, and use suppressing fire. Lots and lots of suppressing fire.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: "Fuck off, grasshopper!" said in response to Nick trying to convince Reverend Shooter to go quietly.
- Sinister Minister: Reverend Shooter, member of the NWA and wielder of Guns Akimbo.
- Skewed Priorities:
Sgt. Fisher: I'll deal with the press, Sergeant. Now, my perfect Sunday is a lovely long lie in...
- Played for Drama throughout the course of the film. Seemingly no one in the entire village cares about the fact that there seems to be a murderer on the loose, and happily joke about it. Meanwhile, many of them act like the biggest criminals are the crusty jugglers and that damn Living Statue.
- During the investigation of George Merchant's death, Tim Messenger approaches Nick in order to ask him...what his ideal Sunday would be like, not for information about the situation they're investigating. Luckily, Sgt. Fisher deals with Messenger.
- The first thing Danny says when he sees Lurch unconscious on Angel's floor, having been knocked out with the peace lily is "Oh my God! What happened to your peace lily?"
- Sleep Cute: Danny and Angel doze off on the couch together after a night of drinking and watching clichéd cop movies.
- Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: The film bounces all over it.
- Smart Cop, Dumb Cop: Sergeant Angel and Officer Butterworth have this dynamic. Angel is too good for the London Met and is promoted to Sergeant of Police in charge of his own country town. The police there aren't very competent, and the Village society seems to run the place.
- Smarter Than You Look: The rest of the police force. While Angel considers them as a Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop posse, in the climax they suit up in riot gear on seeing the townsfolk shooting at Nick and Danny, intending to quell a mutual bloodbath. Nick quickly realizes that they aren't stupid, just brainwashed, and manages to convince them to turn against Butterman on the sound logic that a town can't have this many accidents but little to no murders. Not to mention that the whole townsfolk rising and firing on one cop is very suspicious. They all manage to come up with strategies to take down Skinner and his employees.
- Spiritual Successor: To Shaun of the Dead, and 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 every time.
- After Nicholas is attacked in his hotel room by Michael, he sends a message to Frank and makes to get to the castle, only to nearly walk smack into Danny, who just appeared in the doorway.
- Stealth Pun:
- 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!"
- A man called Nicholas is stabbed by a man dressed as Santa.
- The first song in the movie, which plays as the unnamed sergeant introduces Nicholas Angel, is called "Goody Two Shoes."
- They kill the Messenger. Tim Messenger, that is.
- When Nick mentions at one point he always wanted to be a cop, he briefly notes an exception in the summer of 1979, when he wanted to be Kermit the Frog. Why then? That was when The Muppet Movie came to cinemas.
- Stop Saying That!: Nicholas eventually gets tired of everyone in the village saying that what they're doing is for "The greater good":Nicholas: SHUT IT!!!
- Storming the Castle: Well, there's a literal castle, but it doesn't get stormed. The supermarket, however...
- Straight Man: Nicholas, usually to Danny, Frank or whichever befuddled police officer he's dealing with. This decreases as he starts to loosen up throughout the film.
- Stuff Blowing Up:
- Subversion—the sea mine doesn't blow up in Webley's barn. Double Subversion—it blows up in the evidence room.
- Also George Merchant's house, courtesy of an engineered gas explosion.
- Stylistic Suck: The in-universe adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Or more specifically, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
- Sudden Downer Ending: Subverted. Everyone is laughing and joking in the station while doing paperwork, when Weaver comes out of nowhere, shoots Danny with a blunderbuss, and then accidentally sets off a naval sea mine, blowing himself and the police station up. Amid the rubble, Angel runs over to Danny, telling him everything is going to be fine, and then the film fades to one year later, where Angel, now settled into his cottage, is laying flowers at a grave reading "IN MEMORY OF _____ BUTTERMAN" where the blank is obscured by Nicholas' shoulder. Nicholas says he hopes that the flowers are okay, and Danny steps out, alive and well, to say they're perfect - the grave is revealed to be that of Danny's mother, Irene. Danny and Nick then go off on a patrol together.
- Sunglasses at Night: The Andys keep their shades on after the village fête, even though it's nighttime, and it's raining.
- Super Window Jump: Double-subverted; Angel throws his police baton at a flower shop window to break it prematurely, and then he jumps inside via a different window.
- Surprisingly Creepy Moment: This seemingly innocuous buddy cop comedy suddenly gets a couple of pretty graphic slasher-horror scenes, but they don't last very long and are immediately followed by laughs. But then holy shit the reveal. Turns out there was not a single murderer, but several, all members of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance, A.K.A. most of the nice, neighborly villagers. These people are obsessed with winning the "Village of the Year" award, and will resort to kill anyone, including children, to secure the award. And then, of course, we get a couple jokes and then we drop the horror entirely to focus on action.
- Surprise Santa Encounter: Rare non-anime example. A mall Santa has about a second of screen time, stabbing Nicholas through the hand.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- Nick is the Logical Latecomer who notices a series of strange events in the town, which he considers possible murders, for this reason. He notes that people in a horrific car crash don't have only their bodies intact after losing their heads, and the car shows little damage. With the second "accident," Nick points out that the man in question was too drunk to start a fire, given he needed two people to help him home and was tucked into bed. And with Tim Messenger, statues don't just fall randomly from the sky as they're about to talk about an important story with a bobby. Conversely, the police officers dismiss him because they've seen such accidents all their lives and Nick is known for being extremely paranoid. In fact, the Andys have a Wait, What? reaction when Nick points out in the climax that there's a large number of accidents in this town and not many homicides and note it is very strange.
- This is ultimately what defeats the NWA. Yes the police in the town are pretty useless and oblivious to Nick's growing suspicions that there may be a killer in their midst. They also suit up in riot gear when a shootout occurs, and the local civilians are firing at Nick, trying to get both of them to put down their guns. None of the cops are so stupid as to ignore that a bunch of civilians drew the first shot at Nick and when Danny reveals his dad is part of the NWA, the new guard turns on Butterman.
- After the climax, the film switches to the cops doing reams of paperwork.
- This is a double subversion. Angel explains how action movies don't make sense, but in the climax it acts like a standard action movie and then goes back to being realistic.
- 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.
- Nicholas was Kicked Upstairs because the other policemen in London were afraid that he was making them look bad. Their crime rates skyrocket because they aren't as good as Nick and he was making most of the arrests.
- Nicholas rides into the village for the final showdown on the back of a white horse. He then sensibly dismounts and sends the horse on its way rather than trying to fight on horseback. Unless horses have been specially trained, gunfire will cause them to spook and flee.
- Surrounded by Idiots: How Angel feels about his new police team for most of the movie. Not that we can blame him however, considering how obnoxious and ignorant they are.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: 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.
- Swans A-Swimming: Sandford's most notorious fugitive.
- The Swear Jar: In the police station, all proceeds toward the church roof replacement. Nicholas Angel and Andy Wainright have a heated argument, and both turn aside to politely thank two other characters for paying in. The argument starts with Nicholas paying in advance for his first swear.Nicholas: Of course she fucking was! *clink* Thank you, Danny.
Andy: Murder, murder, murder... change the fucking record! *clink* Thank you, Andy.
- Symbolism: There is some angelic symbolism surrounding Nicholas.
- His last name is Angel.
- His badge number is 777, the number of God. note
- Symbolic Wings when he rides into town on a white horse, via the large guns tied across his back.
- Incidentally, it's probably not a coincidence that the horse he rides is light-coloured.note
- When he arrives in Sandford during a downpour, it is remarked that "It would appear that the heavens have opened."
- Sword Cane: One of the NWA wields one instead of a gun.
- Take That!: The extremely amateur production Angel is forced to watch is a fairly unflattering take on William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, complete with guns, neon churches, and music video style dance numbers.
- 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... albeit with far less lethal ammunition.
- 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.
- Tap on the Head:
- When it looks like the shoplifter is escaping through the field, Nicholas grabs a can of spray paint from one of the hoodies and launches it in a perfect arc to hit the shoplifter on the head and knock him out.
- When Nicholas is ambushed and attacked by Michael in his hotel room, Nicholas smashes his peace lily on Michael's head, knocking him out.
- Tautological Templar: The NWA is not above killing people over incredibly trivial and ridiculous things, such as having an annoying laugh or having an awful house. But in their eyes, it's okay because it's all for the "Greater Good."
- 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. Angel says exactly that in the convenience store after his escape from the NWA, and from that point on, the Decon-Recon Switch is set to "recon."
- Thematic Series: It's the second movie in Edgar Wright's thematic Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy (also called the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy), of which Shaun of the Dead is the first and The World's End is the third. The movies have no characters or plot points in common, but they're each 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. And ice cream.
- Theme Naming:
- Most of the townspeople 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 notable exception is "Butterman": Nick Frost agreed to do the film on the proviso that he be allowed to name his character.
- Those Two Guys: The Andys, who behave like a pair of frat guys pretending to be cops and waste no time in antagonizing Nicholas and Danny.
- 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 survive to be cooped up in jail, even though the final showdown with the villain is pretty gory.
- With the exception of Tom Weaver, who most certainly died, though that actually was an accident. 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.
- Threesome Subtext: Doris, with two men, looking at a roast hog on a spit: "That's me after a few pints!"
- Too Dumb to Live: Webley bangs the sea mine in his barn with the butt of his shotgun to prove to Angel and Danny it's harmless, and it starts ticking. Luckily for them, it doesn't blow up. It does blow up at the end in the evidence room with Tom Weaver under it.
- Took a Level in Badass: The entire police force takes one during the climax.
- Town with a Dark Secret: A huge one, terrible and silly at the same time. Most of the town leaders form a conspiracy to murder anyone that might jeopardize Sandford's Village of the Year winning streak.
- Toyota Tripwire: During the climax, one of Amanda Paver's gunshots hit Nicholas. Danny sees this from his police car and angrily flings his door open into her path, flipping her off her bike.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cranberry juice, for Angel. Chocolate cake, for the Sandford police. Cornetto ice cream.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer mainly focused on the final third of the movie.
- Trash Landing: Nicholas and Danny jump into a skip full of cardboard from a back window of the supermarket to pursue Skinner.
- Troperiffic: During development, the principles used Roger Ebert's big book of movie terms as a reference to ensure they packed as many Police Procedural/Mystery tropes as possible into the film.
- 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.
- Tuckerization: The protagonist is named after the movie's musical supervisor, Nick Angel.
- Two Dun It: Subverted. At first Nicholas Angel suspects the Obviously Evil local supermarket manager Simon Skinner of being behind the string of mysterious deaths, but he has a waterproof alibi. Just when Angel realizes that there must be more than one killer, he's attacked by Skinner's brutish thug, who tells him to rendezvous at a castle after believing Nicholas to be disposed of. Once Nicholas gets there, it turns out that in fact almost the entire town is in on it.
- 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.
- Understatement: Sandford characters often refer to anything from a mild spat to an active foot chase as "a spot of bother," in accordance with the film's British setting.
- Unintelligible Accent: Two characters, both old men with ridiculously over the top West Country accents. One of them gets easier to understand as the movie progresses, though. The other shows up dead the next time he's seen.... This was inspired by a real life anecdote the writers heard about a cop who did need a local officer to translate for him.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Angel arresting the underage drinkers at the start of the film turns out to be this, as he later stumbles across their dead bodies. Without realizing it, he accidentally condemned them.
- The travelling band of gypsies probably did not have any intention of destroying the prideful winning streak of the town they passed through, nor of instigating a cult dedicated to maintaining a facade of societal perfection by murdering anyone remotely acting odd, including them.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: 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 shootout in the village, 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.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- "He's not even from 'round here!"
- "You little fucker!"
- "GET. OUT. OF. MY. VILLAGE!!!!"
- Villainous Gentrification: This plays into the Red Herring. Sergeant Angel suspects that supermarket manager Skinner is murdering people in order to secure control of land that will become prime value after a planned bypass is built. In fact, Skinner and his compatriots are killing anyone who stands out, in order to maintain their ideal community.
- Villains Out Shopping:
- Skinner, like Angel, is seen out jogging while Angel himself is, and apparently won a fun run in the past. He is also seen having a drink in the pub on the night of George Merchant's murder.
- Most of the NWA is seen at the performance of Romeo and Juliet behind Angel and Danny, as well as spending time at the village fête.
- The Voiceless:
- Mr. Treacher has no lines and makes hardly a sound except for a few exclamations of shock when a few barrels in the climax knock him over and knock him out on the road. According to the trivia track, his actor was deaf.
- Subverted with Bernard Cooper, as he is asleep when we first see him. Then he yells as he fights Angel with the sword, and shouts "Ow, my hip!" when Angel takes him down.
- 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.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zigzagged with Inspector Butterman and the NWA. On one hand, they insist that their killings are for the greater good of Sandford, on the other hand, they show signs of being Not So Well Intentioned Extremists because a lot of their killings are done for incredibly petty reasons (having an annoying laugh, having an "awful" house, making typos) and it's implied that some of the members actually get sadistic pleasure from killing people (especially Simon Skinner).
- Wham Line:
Nick: These people died for no reason! No reason whatsoever!
- Upon inquiring Webley about the shotgun he's carrying if he's got a licence for it, Webley responds that he does "for this one." Angel then becomes horrified and asks him by what he meant for only the shotgun. Cue the enormous weapons cache.
- Doubly so, as it reveals that Frank Butterman is in on the whole conspiracy:
Frank Butterman: I wouldn't say that.
- There was also the one earlier that clued Angel in on the fact that multiple killers were involved: "No luck catching them killers, then?", courtesy of Annette Roper.
- What He Said:
- 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.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: In-Universe with the Romeo and Juliet production—of course, seeing as it's the 40-something director doubling as a teenaged man...
- White Stallion: Nicholas rides into town to save the day, having 'borrowed' the horse from the farmer who tried to shoot him.
- Win Her a Prize: Nicholas uses his Improbable Aiming Skills with air rifles to win a large monkey for Danny.
- Wise Old Folk Façade: This film is predicated on the absurdity of a small town's Neighborhood Watch, which consists mostly of the town's elderly residents, forming a murderous conspiracy. The leader of said conspiracy is none other than the local police chief, who happens to be the father of one protagonist and initially does his best to establish himself as a parental figure to the other.
- 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 Romani 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."
- World of Jerkass: Nicholas and Danny are really the only likable characters in the movie. Everyone else is either an ignorant, obnoxious Jerkass or a delusional serial-killer pretending to be upstanding people. The rest of the police force (sans Inspector Butterman) do come around in the climax, however.
- Worthy Opponent: Skinner's reaction to Angel. "My, he is tenacious, isn't he."
- Would Hit a Girl: Would hit an old lady in the face with a dropkick, in fact.
- 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.
- You Do Not Have to Say Anything: Nicholas is heard giving the speech to the shoplifter he arrests.
- 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.
- Your Head Asplode:
- Poor, poor Tim Messenger. A church spire falls on his head with enough force to implode it.
- Also invoked by Danny, during Nick's question time with the local school.Is it true that there is a spot in a man's head that it you shoot it, it will blow up?