DVD REVIEW: Cockneys vs Zombies

Lets get this out the way first. If you hate ZomComs or films where mockney’s are swearing every other word or even low-budget thinly plotted Brit films then you are probably best not picking up this film.  Cockneys vs Zombies is not for you and there’s no shame in that – just walk away!

Still here?  Good.  Obviously the thought of former Bond girl Honor Blackman slaying Zombies with a semi-automatic in a nursing appeals and so it should.

The story? As contractors to an East London building site unlock a 350-year old vault full of seriously unpleasant (rotted) zombies, the East End has suddenly gone to hell worse than usual and the cockney way of life is under threat.   Equipped with all the guns and ammo they can carry, a group of bank robbers led by Katy (Michelle Ryan) are London’s only hope of saving East London from a zombie Armageddon.  All in the name of saving their granddads nursing home.

Not the most challenging of plots then and considering the numerous “Something vs Something” films that have creeped out of late have almost uniformly been poor, hopes were not that high.  But even with expectations unfairly set to low, the fact this film is actually rather good fun makes for more than pleasant surprise.

It’s the cast that sell this film.  Whilst there are numerous stand out moments, its Snatch star Alan Ford rein-acting his usual Cockney gangster stick that once again steals the show here.  In fact it’s the old timers – Honor Blackman, Richard Briers et al that really make this film sing; you can’t beat experience and class, which they provide in spades.  That’s not to say the young cast are bad, far from it.  In fact Lee Asquith-Coe is especially good (in a role earmarked for Danny Dyer who turned down the film based on the title ).  It’s only former Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan who doesn’t fit here, trying too hard to make her under written swearing cockney lock pick character work.

Director Matthias Hoene does a solid job with a limited budget, with the money going on some impressive effects and the are a few stand out moments – not least the Zombie vs pensioner in a Zimmerman frame chase scene – inspired. But perfect? No. There’s too much reliance on CGI gun and blood effects that make a lot of the weight out of the action sequences, not to mention a budget which at times is straining at the edges and a script that relies a little too heavily on f-bombs rather that proper dialogue, although when said by Ford you can’t help but smile.

That said the film makers do an amazing job of making London look like its gone to hell in a hand basket and for the most part the characters are likeable and believable. So how does it compare to genre standouts Shaun Of The Dead or Zombieland? Well it doesn’t – both are superior to this. However that is because both set the bar so high, it’s become an almost unattainable goal.

In its own rights however, CvZ is much better than its derivative title would have you believe. So paper-thin plot, overwrought dialogue, enough swearing to fill twenty East-end pubs on Match day and bucket loads of CGI blood and violence make it perfect for a Saturday night beer and curry movie.

Rating: 3.5 / 5
Reporter: Phil Hobden

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