Attack the Block (2011)

September 08, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

A group of aliens that look like they came out of a Sesame Street nightmare invade London, and a young gang steps up to defend their turf. Attack the Block is just as fun to watch as it sounds on paper. This is director Joe Cornish’s first feature film, and it may feel like a Shaun of the Dead or even a Evil Dead II type of film because it mixes genres so well. The film plays out like somewhat like a video game (Zombies Ate My Neighbors from the SNES days came to mind) with aliens and different colorful characters, equipped with weapons, and missions.

The film takes place in South London and Cornish captures a more colorful version of how the London ghetto are usually portrayed. Cornish hits the ground running right from the beginning, and the quick pace never really lets up. There’s always something wild happening, and the script makes the audience care, even a little bit, despite the craziness of it all. The film is a fantastic mix of Action, a little bit of B-style Horror, and Comedy. The alien designs, and the special effects for the aliens, aren’t really anything to brag about, but they do look cool and are interesting with their dark fur and glowing teeth, in an old school video game sort of way. The very first alien that we see, which is different from the rest, has a fascinating design, looking plain nasty. There’s also gore moments that are very well done, and very gritty, giving some top zombie films a run for their money in the effects department.

The acting isn’t groundbreaking, but this isn’t a film for groundbreaking acting anyways. Everyone in the gang is likable in their own ways. Moses is the main character, played by John Boyega, and he does a solid job transitioning from a going-nowhere thug to a hero, as he is forced to by the circumstances. So when Moses kicks ass, there’s a reason that he does, and it makes the ass-kicking that much better. It also helps that he looks like a young Mike Tyson. Luke Treadaway, playing Brewis the pot-smoking nerd, is a bit of a scene-stealer, although everyone in the gang has their moments to shine. The only noticeable face is Nick Frost, playing Ron, and he does a solid job as the lazy pot-dealer.

Attack the Block is a helluva fun time at the theater, as it mixes three genres fairly well to shake up an interesting cinematic cocktail. The film has energy, style, and makes you want to dive into the film and join the gang to kick some alien ass. Even beneath all the fun, there’s more to it, as it shows you that there’s always a chance to be somebody despite yourself.

Potential Drawbacks:

The aliens that arrive after the initial alien look a bit laughable, and don’t look too threatening even when they’re spilling the blood of their victims. Some may argue that the film makes the gang look too much like heroes, when they’re really just a gang defending their turf.

There also may be complaints about the heavy accents and the type of comedy this film uses, as it may not be funny or interesting to viewers that are used to American comedies. Additionally, some may think the film is shot in a somewhat amateurish way.

Film Recommendations:

Shaun of the Dead
Evil Dead II
Cowboys and Aliens


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