Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg), an extremely dedicated police officer in London’s Metropolitan Police Service, performs his duties so well that he makes his colleagues look bad. As a result, his superiors transfer him to the sleepy and seemingly crime-free village of Sandford in rural Gloucestershire.
Once there, he immediately arrests a large group of underage drinkers and a drunk driver, who turns out to be his eventual partner, Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a well-meaning but ineffective police constable, the son of local police inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). A serious action film fan, Danny is in awe of his new big city partner, who just might provide him with his chance to experience the life of gunfights and car chases he longs for. Angel struggles to adjust to the slow, uneventful pace of the village. Despite clearing up several otherwise unnoticed crimes in short order, including confiscating a very large stockpile of military equipment, including a sea mine and a number of unlicensed guns, Angel soon finds his most pressing concern to be an escaped swan. His serious manner and strict attention to the letter of the law also makes him the focus of dislike by some of his co-workers. However, Angel and Danny eventually bond over drinks at the local pub and action films.
Soon after Angel’s arrival, a series of murders disguised as accidents rock the village, all committed by a figure in a black hood and cloak. Increasingly convinced that Sandford is not what it seems and that the victims of the ‘accidents’ were murdered, Angel begins to clash with his colleagues. He refuses to drop the investigation and in front of several police officers announces his arrest of Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), the charming but sinister manager of the local Somerfield supermarket, of murdering the victims due to their involvement in a lucrative property deal. Skinner smoothly and confidently provides plausibly innocent explanations for all of Angel’s charges and goes free, the whole incident further damaging Angel’s credibility with his colleagues.
After being ambushed in his hotel room by the cloaked murderer, whom he knocks unconcious and reveals to be Michael Armstrong (Rory McCann), the enormous trolley boy of the Somerfield acting on Skinner’s orders, Angel is led to a nearby castle where he discovers the truth; Inspector Butterman, Skinner and the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance (NWA), intent on keeping Sandford’s title of “Village of the Year”, have been murdering anyone who might damage the village’s quaint and charming image. The fact that all of the murders that occurred after Angel arrived could be tied together in a property scheme is actually a coincidence, each victim having in fact been murdered for more trivial reasons. Inspector Butterman reveals that his wife committed suicide after the village lost the title many years ago, motivating him to use extreme methods. Angel discovers the bodies of various “problem” people whom the NWA disposed of before and since his arrival, before being cornered and ‘stabbed’ by Danny, apparently a member of the NWA.
Having tricked the NWA into believing that Angel is dead, Danny instead drives him to the village limits and releases him, insisting that he knew nothing about their true activities. Danny urges Angel to go back to London, reasoning that no one would believe the truth about Sandford. However, while at a motorway service station, Angel sees the action films he and Danny watched on a nearby DVD rack and is inspired to stop the NWA. He drives back to town and arms himself with the guns he confiscated earlier. After Angel meets with Danny in the village, the two begin to dispatch the members of the NWA in an increasingly destructive and frantic series of gun fights. Confronted by their colleagues, who are quickly persuaded of the truth, Angel and Danny take the battle to the supermarket. Skinner and Inspector Butterman flee, and are pursued by Angel and Danny to a nearby miniature park. There both Skinner and Inspector Butterman are apprehended.
Angel’s former superiors arrive from London begging him to return, as their crime rate has risen heavily, but Angel chooses to remain in Sandford. Back at the police station, the officers are ambushed by Tom Weaver (Edward Woodward), the last remaining member of the NWA. He attempts to shoot Angel but Danny jumps in the way and takes the bullets himself. In the resulting chaos, the confiscated sea mine is triggered and the station is destroyed.
One year later, Angel lays flowers on a grave marked ‘Butterman’; it is revealed that Danny has survived and the grave is his mother’s. Angel has been promoted to Inspector as the new head of the Sandford Police Service and Danny to Sergeant, and they go back on the beat together in Sandford.
British comedy sometimes gets lost on me, but this film was quite entertaining and funny. I’ve come to the realization that I really like satirical parody type films.
The acting in this film is pretty good. Obviously, you shouldn’t go into this expecting some sort of Oscar winning performance. If you do, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
The murder scenes are a bit over the top, but they work for this type of film.
The action scenes are awesome and leave you wanting more.
I wasn’t really expecting to see this film, but now that I have, I’m glad I did. Granted, its far from being the best film in the world, but it is pretty good. I recommend it to you all!
4 out of 5 stars