Avis sur le film Z in London Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)

Avis sur le film Z in London Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)
Avis sur le film Z in London Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)

Zombies, humor, it’s English and it takes place in London, let’s get it out of the way right away: yes, Cockneys vs Zombies can be reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead. But it also has that little accent of Guy Ritchie’s gangster films, a slight impertinence in the tone. Well-digested influences, for a well-directed film.

With these “cockneys”, Matthias Hoene’s film assumes its “so British” side, but not that of the gentlemen in tweed. Cockneys are working-class Londoners, living in the East of the city. Usually loudmouths, whom the film erects as heroes who are a bit of a rogue, a bit of a scoundrel, but with a little soft heart.

Everyday heroes, who do what they can to survive, jostling against the real estate pressure of property developers or zombies (both are equal). To save the retirement home of their grandpa and their senior friends, Andy and Terry MacGuire decide to rob a bank, accompanied by a fine team. They are not professionals, and it shows, but they manage to steal the money, except that they find themselves with two hostages on their hands and in the meantime a zombie epidemic ravages London.

Not very ordinary gangsters, with marked personalities, will play with fists and weapons, and above all improvise, to get out of the mess that falls on them, while going to help the pensioners confined in their retirement home. They are generally good guys, who wanted to do good, even if the agreement is precarious, it’s jostling, cockney style. They will put their energy to good use, especially against the zombies.

These are of the Romero-esque type, not runners, and one of the characters is amused by them, an obvious reference to 28 Days Later. They are hardly offensive, but beware, there is strength in numbers and an accident can happen so quickly. Cockneys vs Zombies will not play on the gore and shock aspect, it turns out to be rather tame, apart from a few bloody scratches. Apart from the swollen makeup, it offers few special effects, few prosthetics and other artifacts. Some digital effects are still quite visible, notably to illustrate a London in the grip of chaos with explosions and digital smoke. But the footage seeks to be quite realistic, almost documentary, without making too much fuss, at human height.

So it won’t be fear that he seeks to provoke, but a certain tension, first with this clumsy robbery and then with this survival against the zombies. The situation is always on the verge of tipping over, and the film manages to express it quite well. However, it skids a little too long between the robbery and the rescue of the old people, struggling to shift into high gear.

And even if this team of bunglers has character, the team of seniors turns out to be a charming surprise, exploiting their weaknesses and other aspects of their easy-going life. Before reuniting the two teams, the elderly will be treated to several scenes, including a rather amusing chase in walkers. Most of the best funny scenes will be played with them, playing on a discrepancy rarely seen in the genre. The group is led by a very agitated Alan Ford, an actor used to Guy Ritchie films. Other old glories are comfortable in their slippers, like Honor Blackman (The Avengers, Jason and the Argonauts, Goldfinger) or Richard Briers, who seem to be having fun here demonstrating that old people still have energy to spare.

Without wanting to criticize the “young” cockneys, all very well played (thanks to Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Georgia King and the others), the older generation seems to offer a potential that has not been fully reached. The film would perhaps have been even more striking by highlighting them even more.

And even if Cockneys vs Zombies is not only based on that, the vision of this London invaded by zombies is quite amusing, with a few winks. Even zombified, hooligans from two teams will beat each other up. The famous red double-decker buses will even be mobilized. It is a zombie film that has “local color”, far from certain productions of the same genre with interchangeable sets. It reminded me of the excellent ZombiU, released the same year and which also takes place in London.

Perhaps it could have done with a bit more cheekiness, and a slightly better pace, and Cockneys vs Zombies could have been a new benchmark of the genre. As it stands, the film is a quality B movie, well-made, well-acted, with the particularity of its “so cockney” and “senior power” tones that suit it well.

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