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Cockneys vs. Zombies(2012)
Bank-robbers unwittingly let loose a zombie horde onto the streets of London, in this comedy horror from director Matthias Hoene. Andy (Harry Treadaway) and Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) are determined to save their grandad Ray (Alan Ford)'s care home by robbing a bank. But when they break into a 350-year-old underground vault, the gang of robbers realise they've bitten off more than they can chew when they unleash a zombie army. With the undead looking for their next meal, the gang, led by Katy (Michelle Ryan), must rescue the old folks, all the while battling their way to freedom with their hard-earned dosh.
For more about Cockneys vs. Zombies and the Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray release, see Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on August 30, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Georgia King, Honor Blackman, Michelle Ryan, Alan Ford, Harry Treadaway, Richard Briers
» See full cast & crew
Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray Review
Dawn of the (brain) dead.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, August 30, 2013
Zombies may be taking over mass media to an alarming degree, but let's face it, they're not the more articulate of creatures. Given to guttural utterances of largely monosyllabic content, it's rare that a zombie ever even speaks an intelligible word. And yet even armed with that salient piece of information, it was actually the Cockneys I most feared not being able to understand coming into the fanciful and fitfully amusing Cockneys vs. Zombies. As I mentioned in my Blu-ray review of Wild Bill, another film set in London's East End, I spent part of this past summer in both England and France, hearing virtually every European dialect and language under the sun, and yet literally the only times I had absolutely no idea what the speaker was saying was when I was talking to those with Cockney accents. Luckily this Blu- ray, unlike Wild Bill, offers subtitles for those not able to easily decipher this sometimes obtusely thick dialect, not to mention the odd vagaries of so-called Cockney rhyming slang. Cockneys vs. Zombies details two simultaneously unfolding and ultimately interlinked storylines, one dealing with some ne'er-do-well kids who are attempting to rob a bank, and the second dealing with a gaggle of folks at the opposite end of the age spectrum, a bunch of senior citizens supposedly enjoying their golden years in a retirement facility which itself is nearing the end of its shelf life. When the dreaded outbreak of zombieism hits East London with a vengeance, both the kids and the elders have to figure out a way to fight off the (slowly) encroaching horde, until finally they manage to join forces. That's about it, plot wise, but Cockneys vs. Zombies does have the benefit of offering a pretty cheeky sense of humor, an element that gives this outing its own peculiar charm.
A construction site in East London uncovers a weird metallic door that bears the inscription of long dead King Charles II. Because construction crewmen aren't known for their deep thinking, a couple of them pry off the door and discover what appears to be a long ago mass graveyard. However, it turns out not all of the skeletons are quite dead yet, and in fact may be undead, at which point one of them reaches out and touches (with its teeth) one of the poor hapless builders. The second guy is soon snack food himself, and the camera calmly leaves the site as yet more workers come to the opening calling to their fallen comrades —and we know how that is going to play out.
Meanwhile, brothers Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadaway) have gotten a dilapidated old van that it turns out they're planning on using for an upcoming bank heist in order to provide their grandfather Ray (Alan Ford) with enough bucks to save the endangered retirement home he lives in. They first have a kind of uncomfortable interchange with "Mental" Mickey (Ashley Bashy Thomas), a giant black guy with a definite attitude problem, but someone who has agreed to supply them with weapons for the heist. The two siblings later pick up two of their co-conspirators, their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan) and a kind of naïve man child named Davey (Jack Doolan). Through some odd plot mechanics, the thieves decide to dress as construction workers, and are confused when the bank manager welcomes them with open arms and mentions their money is waiting for them. That misunderstanding soon turns into an actual bank robbery when Mickey goes a little ballistic and the crew is ushered by the manager into the spacious bank vault.
In the meantime, Ray is making do as best he can in a retirement facility that is in danger of being torn down, to make room for an "exciting" new development—the very development, it would seem, that sparked the discovery of the mass grave site and increasing population of zombies. His grandsons actually make regular deliveries to the facility and are beloved by the elderly women there, but there's little doubt that these two young apples have not fallen far from their grandfatherly tree, as Ray seems to have a somewhat questionable background himself. During a festive party, the elders notice a bunch of shuffling people attempting to enter the building, and after a couple of them get inside and begin munching on the nursing staff, the senior citizens figure out that they're in danger, retreating to a closed off portion of the facility.
The would be bank robbers meanwhile think they've gotten away with the loot until they step outside and are greeted by a rather impressive show of police force. While Mickey lives up to his "mental" soubriquet once again and delivers a few well aimed sprays of gunfire, the robbers retreat into the building, ultimately deciding to take two hostages, Clive (Tony Gardner) and Emma (Georgia King). When the group forges back outside, they're shocked to see no police left standing, and instead a (slowly) approaching group of zombies. And so the cat and mouse (and/or zombie and human) games are on.
Cockneys vs. Zombies is one of those high concept entries whose entire plot is encapsulated by its title, but perhaps surprisingly, there's a bit of meat on the comedic bones. While many will no doubt make comparisons between this outing and Shaun of the Dead , Cockneys vs. Zombies has its own rather distinctive point of view, positing a bunch of near idiots attempting to deal with those with absolutely no functioning brains. The comedy here is obviously very broad, but it's also unexpectedly effective quite a bit of the time. There are the requisite "hey, there's a zombie behind you" jokes, but there are also some undeniably funny running gags built around zombies who in fact can't run. One of the best sight gags involves a hapless senior attempting to escape the zombies when he himself is forced to use a walker that is obviously not built for speed.
While the film is obviously not on the level of, say, the sparkling repartee in a Noël Coward comedy, for a zombie film, things are unusually spry. It's also great to be able to see older actors like Ford and a rather unlikely Honor Blackman (erstwhile Pussy Galore of Goldfinger fame) as gun totin' seniors shooting (slowly) marauding zombies with abandon. But the entire cast here is really rather good, obviously in on the joke and playing their often dunderheaded characters to the hilt.
Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray, Video Quality
Cockneys vs. Zombies is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout! Factory with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.35:1. This digitally shot feature boasts exceptional fine detail in close-ups, with the really rather well done makeup effects offering sometimes grisly facets that pop (sometimes literally) impressively. The palette here tends to favor grays, which only makes the blood and guts all the more noticeable, but overall this is not an extremely vividly colorful presentation. Contrast is generally quite strong, looking better in the many exterior locations than in some of the relatively less impressive looking interior shots. A couple of very brief stability issues crop up as the camera pans over various London locales (some of which have soft looking CGI elements added), but otherwise this is a nice looking effort for what was obviously a rather small budgeted film.
Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Cockneys vs. Zombies has a very forceful and robust lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that doesn't skimp on the low end, both in terms of foley effects and some bass thumpin' tunes that dot the soundtrack. Surround activity is quite well handled, especially when the various groups are confronted by bunches of hungry zombies, at which point various shuffling noises and grunts and groans dot the side and rear channels. Dialogue is cleanly presented and the optional subtitles are a big bonus for those who can't easily decipher the thick accents. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is very wide.
Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Cockneys vs. Zombies is better than it has any right to be, and that might just be good enough to warrant checking this silly but enjoyable film out, especially if you're a fan of similar entries like Shaun of the Dead. This is more wryly amusing than flat out hilarious, but the special effects are quite good for such a low budget film and the overall tone is neatly balanced between humor and horror. This Blu-ray offers generally solid video and audio and comes with some appealing supplemental features. Recommended.
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Cockneys vs. Zombies Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Cockneys Vs Zombies Blu-ray - August 9, 2013
Shout Factory has detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of Matthias Hoene's horror comedy Cockneys Vs Zombies (2012), starring Michelle Ryan, Lee Asquith-Coe and Georgia King. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the nation on ...
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