It begins softly, but don’t be fooled. No sooner does London cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) — so good at arrests that other coppers hate him — accept his transfer to the drowsy village of Sandford than the aging populace its turning into stone-cold, gore-happy freaks. That’s all you should know, except that this shotgun marriage of Monty Python and Apocalypto is a kissing, kick-ass cousin to Shaun of the Dead, the 2004 zombiefest that Pegg co-wrote with director Edgar Wright. You can’t beat these Brits for blood lust and belly laughs. Pegg once again teams up with actor Nick Frost, this time playing Danny Butterman, the chubby Sandford cop whose lovable old dad (Jim Broadbent) is the local police chief.
It’s the living, not the undead, who are plaguing the quiet village. Angel is a ramrod, but Danny’s knowledge of violence comes exclusively from the Michael Bay Bad Boys flicks he pops into his DVD player.
Bay’s pyrotechnics get royally tweaked as bullets fly and blood splatters. But Wright brings you close to the characters as well as to the action. It makes all the difference, as the dream team of Pegg and Frost — not to mention choice bits from Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy and Timothy Dalton — lace the mayhem with mirth. It’s a blast.