THE VANGUARD *** U.K. 2008 89 mins Dir : Matthew Hope

Set in the year 2015, the world is now at war with man-made Zombies known as Biosyns, created by scientists as weapons that got out of control and now out number Mankind. With global war raging and now very limited resources the struggle of one survivor and his fight against the Biosyns and the Corporation trying to enforce its law on the world is incredibly compelling.
It starts well. We meet our hero/survivor Max who has lived alone in the woods for a few years and seems perfectly capable of going it alone with his trusty spear, axe and knife combo, well versed in taking out the Biosyns. These are not your shuffling zombies either these are the fast viral Zombies that have a very odd almost primate type gait and are incredibly vocal.
Due to the lack of other people the dialogue is sparse so we have a narrative going on in Max’s head to keep us up to speed. All is not as it seems with Max though which we begin to discover as the film goes on. Whilst we are getting to know Max another story is unfolding about a rogue Corporation soldier, called Jamal, who is trying to escape the Corporation and inadvertently happens upon Max. The question it seems though is that who is the real enemy here, the Biosyns or the Corporation??
Without exposing too much more of the plot the films idea and story in theory is really good. I like Max, played by Ray Bullock Jnr (from low budget reaper type sci fi film Soul Searcher), a lot. The scenes with him at the start just surviving, killing and sometimes capturing and torturing Biosyns whilst riding around on his chopper bicycle are quite cool. Jamal the AWOL Corp solider, played by Shiv Grewal, again at the start plays the moody, troubled and grieving soldier well, but when they meet up and are joined by another rogue scientist Rachael (Emma Hayden) and hapless soldier husband Zac (Steve Weston) the acting becomes rather questionable and things get a bit lost in translation.
Some very good gore and limb amputations (not by choice) going on at the start and end of the film, some of the gun fights in the middle seem a bit weird and overly lasery though and the Biosyns make up on close ups is a bit dodgy. Good camera work and atmosphere and not overdoing it with the background music either. It seems to me to be a bit of a Sci fi/Horror crossover attempt neither horrendous nor amazing. I would suggest watching it and for what it cost me it’s a welcome edition to my collection.

Review by Sarah Budd

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