British humour - there is nothing quite like it at all! Some of it has travelled the globe very well indeed - A Fish called Wanda, The Full Monty - and have been global successes. Then there has been the more "select/cult" hits worldwide that have helped fly the flag - any Monty Python, Shaun Of The Dead. The latter helped create and define new genres whereas the former just perfected their respective ones.
Director Matthais Hoene's first stint behind the camera sees his work fall squarely into the former category - a "standing on the shoulders of previous giants" type of thing.
Firstly, it should be known that if the title of Cockneys VS Zombies didn't appeal to you or brought a smile to your face, then it's safe to say that this won't be your type of film. Here, not unlike the Snakes On A Plane idea, it does exactly what it says on the tin. One half of the writing duo - Moran - had previously cut his teeth in writing episodes for TV such as Doctor Who, Spooks, Primeval and Torchwood. These cult shows deal with the slightly ludricious and it seems that Moran, along with co-writer Loche, have gone all-out loopy for their first shot at the bigtime. There's no denying that it feels (and looks like) a lesser cousin to superior Shaun... but the lads have tried to distance themselves with attempting more sillyness, more swearing and more stains of blood. And for some of the time, this works.
Where it excels in is its moments of sheer ridiculousness: a flashback to Ford's gezzer Granddad storming a Nazi bunker in WWII and givin' them what-for whilst shouting such things "ave some o that!" in a true cockney accent. It also shows that being dead, or technically undead, cannot quell the deep-seated rivalry between opposing football fans as our "heroes" watch on astounded over the slowest and strangest football hooligan fight ever seen. Its ultimate visual stunner aimed at the funny bone though has to be the sequence that makes an appearance briefly in the trailer - that of the nations' beloved Briers trying to outrun a zombie in his zimmer frame. The full scene is thankfully still a laugh-ou-loud moment without the brief snippet in the trailer detracting from your enjoyment.
Where it does fall short though is its over-reliance on its "star" - the foul-mouthed, takes-no-sh*t Alan Ford. Basically reprising his Bricktop role from Snatch, the writers and the director seem reluctant to keep the camera and story away from him for any length of time, allowing him to appear on the screen and utter his delightful way with words....buried deep in a pile of expletives! This does mean that the other cast members do feel like they're treading into his spotlight when it's their turn to speak, and some do suffer for this - Ryan, one of the more recognised of the cast, feels thrown in amongst the whole proceedings as if to add abit of glamour and eye-candy in the typical male-dominant world of zombie apocalypse. She does fare better than King's bank robbery-gone-wrong hostage who only has to think how stupid everyone is until she realises that they're all "nice" bank robbers and decides to join them in the fleeing of the over-run East End.
Having said all that though, Cockneys VS Zombies is not a film that requires a deep examination nor a thoughtful reflection afterwards. It is pure and simply a film to grab a friend, down some beers and then watch with a warm smile upon your face and a load of blood and gore in your eyes and a swear word every few minutes in your ears. Silly, stupendous fun, there's nothing quite like a film that has "Northern monkeys" in its dialogue or one that explains it all in its title. Nice one!
UK release date: 31.08.12