27/10/2012

Cockneys vs Zombies: A Good Match?

Cockneys vs Zombies. Wonder what that film is about then?
We’re going head to head
With the undead,
You can fill ‘em full of lead,
But they won’t stay dead.
Sometimes simple ideas are the best. With a title like Cockneys vs Zombies you know exactly what you’re going to get. It was a working title as it goes but everyone liked it so much and it seemed to sum up the film better than any other one they could think of. From an original idea by London based director Matthias Hoene the script is penned by James Moran and Lucas Roche who turn a simple idea into something that is vibrant, funny and entertaining. A zomedy if you will. Gawd bless ‘em as a Cockney might put it.
Brothers Terry and Andy Maguire are so peeved about the impending closure of the care home where their potty mouthed grandfather Ray resides that they decide to rob a bank to obtain enough cash to keep it open. They hire cousin Katy and a couple of so called `professionals` to assist them but it all goes wrong during which time there is a zombie apocalypse outside. See, told you it was simple. The rest of the film charts the motley crew’s attempts to fight off zombies as they try to rescue the old folks.
It is, obviously, a comedy but like the best comedy there is some substance to the silliness. The script portrays this East End family as heart of gold but tough as nails and the premise of the bank raid is so silly it actually works. They turn up disguised as workmen but all wearing identical moustaches! Pleasingly the retired people are portrayed as still full of zest and character. As for the zombies they are nasty enough to be in a genuine horror (I hesitate to say `serious` because is any zombie film really very serious?) and Hoene knows where to put his horror beats. There are moments of tense jeopardy that sells the idea these characters are in real danger plus a couple of unexpected fatalities along the way.
This year's Primark sale attracted some odd customers
While few London landmarks feature- though there is a red bus- the presence of a large number of zombies is a major plus; there are 526 altogether. The laughs are well placed and some moments are genuinely hilarious, notably a slow motion chase as zombies stumble after the elderly Richard Briers with his zimmer frame. Hoene shoots it with all the signatures of a high speed chase yet they are barely moving! There is a terrific gag about football rivalry as well as a great riff on Cockney rhyming slang. One of the characters Mental Mickey is a brilliantly realised caricature of London gangster films typical hard man.
The cast give it their all. Brummie Rasmus Hardiker as Terry is note perfect cast against his usual type as a go getter and leader. The rapport between Terry and Andy (Harry Treadaway) is believable enough to paper over the fact they look nothing like each other at all.  It’s totally based on banter and arguing and thankfully never becomes anything less than that frenetic all the way. Katy is,Michelle Ryan in kick ass mode and though she doesn’t get as much to do as you might expect, she’s spot on when she does. Ashley Thomas’ Mickey as mentioned earlier is a lot of laughs.
For the older generation honours must go to Alan Ford’s shouty non nonsense Ray. The very idea of such a person in a care home is funny enough and Ford’s foul mouthed attitude steals these sections of the film. Honour Blackman is under –used (this really is a blokey sort of film I suppose) and doesn’t really seem very Cockney but it is always good to see her on screen. Both Richard Briers and particularly Dudley Sutton make modest but key contributions as well.
It’s not a classic or anything but Cockneys vs Zombies is worth every one of its 85 minutes and one of those films that is entertaining and well made. It’s even got a Chas and Dave song at the end credits.

 

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