Redcon-1

“War used to be about borders. It used to be about religion. Now it’s about survival.” A virus is loose in Britain, the first identified carrier James Rowan, recently escaped from Wentworth Prison, patient zero who was shot in an attempted carjacking but who bit the woman he tried to use as a human shield as he was gunned down.

A blood-borne pathogen with a variable incubation time from thirty minutes to six hours depending on the strength of the immune system of the infected party, by the time she arrived at the hospital she had already eaten the paramedics and from there the wave of infection spread out across the city.

Thirty-one days later, a quarantine zone in effect across London and the home counties, the area to be sterilised in a nuclear holocaust in seventy-two hours regardless of the presence of pockets of unaffected survivors. The only hope is Doctor Julian Rayner (Robert Goodale), a geneticist who may hold the key to creating a vaccine, and with his small team SAS Captain Marcus Stanton (Oris Erhuero) has been sent to retrieve him from the quarantine zone.

When there’s no room in Hell, the zombie films will walk the Earth, and directed by Chee Keong Cheun from a script co-written with Steve Horvath and Mark Strange, the latter also playing SAS Lieutenant Frank Perez, Redcon-1 is set in the ruins of London, smoke in the air, the empty streets filled with rubble and wreckage as the viral zombies hunt in search of flesh, mindlessly echoing the behaviours of their former lives.

The narrative as incoherent and shallow as the characterisation, despite the setting location filming of the city scenes took place in Glasgow with local landmarks prominently on screen before the action transfers to a zombie labour camp somewhere in the rolling moors the capital is famed for, the rescue team somehow having traversed the intervening distance without transport during a scene change.

Without a single original idea – rudimentary intelligence and learned behaviour expressed in Land of the Dead, entrails used to disguise scent in The Walking Dead, zombie shuffling classes having been conduced in Shaun of the Dead – the principal selling point of Redcon-1 seems to be the endless and repetitive fight scenes, the team resorting to fighting each other on the rare occasions zombies fail to present themselves in order to fill up running time.

Both the soldiers and the Mad Max style marauders who have sprung up in the quarantine zone possessed of limitless ammunition though no clear motivation to attack the soldiers then later side with them, despite knowing the virus is carried in blood no measures are taken to prevent infection from the copious spillage.

Devoid of subtlety or sense – on what intelligence do they base Doctor Rayner’s location with half the country in meltdown? How does London still have electricity? Why does Sergeant Reeves (Carlos Gallardo) have blood pressure similar to a fire hydrant? – every twist and double-cross is obvious, and when not engaged in mayhem the futile attempts to engage the audience mean every scene is wrung dry of empty emotion, the cumulative experience of Redcon-1 akin to watching someone else play a particularly violent first-person shooter.

Redcon-1 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from 101 Films

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