Cockneys vs. Zombies: Film Review

Cockneys vs. Zombies Poster Art - P 2013

Cockneys vs. Zombies Poster Art - P 2013

Scrappiness doesn't get derivative action flick very far.

Zombies meet East End semi-toughs in a genre mishmash from director Matthias Hoene.

SEATTLE — A send-up of send-ups, Matthias Hoene's Cockneys vs. Zombies draws on Anglo genre fare from Shaun of the Dead to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as it follows some would-be Robin Hoods whose heist is interrupted by the living dead. The result tastes like two-day-old fish & chips, but will please some horror fans who haven't tired of monsters-plus-x novelty hybrids.

Harry Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker star as brothers who've put together a bank-robbing crew to help their ornery-cuss granddad Ray (Alan Ford), whose old-folks' home is threatened by greedy developers. Just as their botched heist is about to land them in jail, though, the apocalypse intervenes: Zombies unearthed by those very developers lay waste to the police force, sending the thieves and a couple of hostages on a survival trek through the East End.

Meanwhile, Ray and some spunky old-timers (played by vets including Honor Blackman and Richard Briers) endure a Night of the Living Dead siege at the retirement home, gathering survivors together and prompting the film's most likely-to-score bit of comedy: As a retiree on a walker tries to escape zombies (these are the slow-walking variety), Hoene cuts back and forth from overheated montage of close-ups to a static long shot, whose snail's-pace action is unadorned by music.

The gore quotient is high enough to please Fangoria subscribers, but serves action whose beats are too predictable to get the blood pumping. Familiar standoffs and make-a-run-for-it sequences build to one of the dumbest climactic self-sacrifice scenes in zombie-flick history, which in turn morphs into a still dumber escape.

Production Company: The Tea Shop & Film Company

Cast: Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Ashley Thomas, Jack Doolan, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Richard Briers, Dudley Sutton

Director: Matthias Hoene

Screenwriter: James Moran

Producers: James Harris, Mark Lane

Executive producers: Simon Crowe, Matthew Joynes, Deepak Nayar, Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke, Michael Henry, Chris Hunt, Anand Tewari, Joe Maccarthy

Director of photography: Daniel Bronks

Production designer: Matthew Button

Music: Jody Jenkins

Costume designer: Matthew Price

Editor: John Palmer

No rating, 88 minutes