Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#1,171. Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012) - Spotlight on England

Directed By: Matthias Hoene

Starring: Rasmus Hardiker, Harry Treadaway, Michelle Ryan

Tag line: "The undead are brown bread "

Trivia: Premiered at the 2012 London FrightFest Film Festival

A zombie comedy set in the heart of London? How could one not draw comparisons between director Matthias Hoene’s Cockneys vs. Zombies and 2004’s Shaun of the Dead

But with a bank robbery subplot and plenty of profanity-laced dialogue, Cockneys vs. Zombies actually has more in common with the early films of Guy Ritchie than it does Edgar Wright’s comedy gem.

To save the retirement home where their granddad (Alan Ford) lives (which is scheduled to be closed in two weeks), brothers Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadway) stage a daring bank robbery, in the hopes it will net them enough money to buy back the home from the corrupt land developers that purchased it. 
With the help of their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan), petty thief Davey (Jack Dioolan) and the psychotic Mickey (Ashley Thomas), the heist goes surprisingly well. 

Unfortunately, as the group is inside raking in the cash, the outside world experiences a... change, in the form of a zombie apocalypse!  By the time Terry, Andy, and the others dash out of the bank, zombies have already laid claim to the entire East End of London. 

Hoping to rescue their Granddad and his friends, the brothers battle their way through the hordes of walking dead, doing everything they can to reach the retirement home ahead of the zombies.

Aside from featuring actors who appeared in Guy Ritchie’s first two films (Dexter Fletcher, who played Soap in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, makes a cameo appearance as Terry’s and Andy’s father, while the always entertaining Alan Ford, aka Brick Top in Snatch, is at his hard-nosed best as the brother’s ever-resourceful Granddad), Cockneys Vs. Zombies also boasts a number of colorful criminals. Cousin Katy, played so well by Michelle Ryan, always speaks her mind, while Mickey, an Iraqi war vet with a metal plate in his skull, is so completely unhinged that you never know what he’s going to do next (The first time we meet him, he rams his head into the hood of Terry’s car, leaving a nasty dent). 

All this, along with some witty dialogue and a handful of fast-paced flashback sequences, had me believing Cockneys vs. Zombies took place in a world very similar to the ones found in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, or even RocknRolla.

Of course, what differentiates it from Ritchie’s crime movies are the zombies, which first turn up in the opening scene (two construction workers unearth a crypt sealed hundreds of years earlier, which houses a few corpses that refuse to die). Much like the Romero zombies, the living dead in Cockneys vs. Zombies move extremely slow (in one of the film's funnier sequences, an elderly man with a walker is being pursued by a number of zombies, resulting in a most unusual chase). What’s more, the scenes in which our heroes face off against the living dead are gloriously gory, with some of the movie’s violent images evoking a few laughs as well (when one character is bitten on the arm by a zombie, another shoots the top of the creature's head clean off, leaving nothing behind but its mouth, still clamped shut on its potential victim’s arm).

Aside from a few weaknesses, including CGI blood spurts that look incredibly phony, Cockneys vs. Zombies proved to be a wild, crazy, and hugely entertaining crime / horror movie with a hell of a lot of personality.

No comments: