Wednesday 25 May 2011

Today's Review: Attack The Block

I was going to see QI last night. We didn't get in though, which sucked tremendous amounts of balls. So thankfully I remembered the Coronet in Notting Hill has £3.50 tickets on Tuesdays. Problem solved. Attack The Block was playing, and it's one of those movies I decided I want to see based on the poster. Inner city rude boys against aliens? Count me in.

Sticking the fact that it's related to Shaun Of The Dead on the poster to anything seems like a grab for attention, but in this case it fits the bill quite well. Attack The Block does for the alien movie what Shaun Of The Dead did for the zombie movie. It's one of those rare parodies that is a respectable movie in its own right, and follows the flawless execution seen in Shaun and Hot Fuzz of taking what should be a big budget Hollywood movie and pushing it into a very British setting. 

Attack The Block follows Moses, a young boy living in a particularly unsavoury block of flats in South London. Along with his gang of ruffians, they mug a woman at knife point on Bonfire Night, before a meteorite crashes into a nearby car and an alien jumps out and attacks them. Feeling personally wronged for having been scratched by a strange creature, Moses of course hunts it down and beats the shit out of it. Then he and his gang deliver it to the top of "the block" to see if their residential stoned TV watcher can figure out what the hell it is. However, more aliens are on the way, and these ones are massive, black, "gorilla wolf motherfuckers" with glowing blue teeth. And when they start advancing all bets are off. Even with the gang tooled up with random weapons from their flats they quickly find themselves fighting for their lives.

The constant running in and around the block kind of reminds me of Skyline, except this movie was actually good, and not just because there were samurai swords involved. Skyline had a much broader scope, but instead chose to focus on some instantly unlikeable kids shitting themselves for an hour and a half. The protagonists of Attack The Block start out with you hating them just for being the standard rude boy stereotype, but as the plot progresses you get to learn more about them, and see the lengths they go to to protect their home and each other. That's not to say that their initial behaviour is redeemed, indeed the movie makes a very good point of not trying to explain away why they were out mugging that evening. The boys admit it happened but don't express any regret for it, but maybe that's because they're fighting massive aliens with fluorescent teeth, so that's the last thing on their minds. 

Attack The Block isn't a massively funny movie. The comedy is there, and much like Shaun Of The Dead it lies in the inherent Britishness that is being pumped into the genre, but in this movie it's not as prominent, the action and grittiness stand beside it equally. The gang talk their lingo at lightning speed, and the odd remark of wanting to be home playing Fifa instead are good for quick laughs. Everyone stays in character throughout, and while at times it may be a little hard to understand if you're not familiar with the lingo, the gang's dialogue and reactions to situations are pitch perfect.

The aliens are threatening, the soundtrack is awesome and the characters are likeable despite being people everyone would usually despise. While the plot suffers a little towards the end, there's not much that could have been done within the confines of a block of flats. But I had a good time watching it, and that's what counts.

My rating: 4/5

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