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A Cornetto Fanfare

by Ross Douthat

A review of The World’s End

If you were to ask me to name the best action director working today — scene for scene, fist for fist, bullet for bullet, fireball for fireball — I would be sorely tempted to choose a filmmaker who has never made a traditional action movie at all. He is an Englishman named Edgar Wright, and if you haven’t heard of him, that means that you’re probably unacquainted with one of the most unusual treats in recent cinema: the so-called Cornetto trilogy — named for a British ice-cream snack that makes a cameo in each — which consists of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, 2007’s Hot Fuzz, and now this year’s The World’s End.

Each of these films features the same two actors: Simon Pegg (also Wright’s screenwriting collaborator) and Nick Frost, whose contrasting, Jack Sprat–and–his–wife physiques — Pegg a skinny live wire, Frost pear-shaped and bear-faced — make them effective partners in slapstick and mayhem. In Shaun, they were London housemates hoping to ride out a zombie apocalypse in the safety of their favorite pub. In Fuzz, they were odd-couple cops going to Bruckheimerian lengths to solve a string of murders in the quintessential tidy little English village.

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