Attack the Block (2011)
Directed by Joe Cornish
The first thing I noticed about Attack the Block is the dialogue. British ghetto younglings have a speech all their own and it's really mesmerizing to hear. Lots of "Get me?" and "love" and "Believe!". At times, I had no idea what the fuck they were saying. But that's the fascination right?
I know all the supposed "bad" neighborhoods in NYC. But I've been getting the feeling I should never set foot in Brixton in south London if I ever visit. Get these kids in a movie theater and shit gets loud (oh no he didn't go there!) Lots of ghetto kids go see a horror flick and will yell shit at the screen saying if faced in the same situation with the killah they'd "fuck that suckah up!" (they're words I cleaned up a bit) The beauty of Attack the Block is now we get to see these same tough thugs battle hairy, glowy teeth but blind alien monsters and see if they're all just talk.
Attack the Block is a mix of a thugged up Goonies meets Gremlins and it's all freakin awesome. Blending a mix of comedy, monster mayhem, action-palooza and some class warfare "MESSAGE!!" it's a slice of fun fun fun. The unlikely criminal tykes we bloody fuckin hate somehow grow up, learn a lesson and gain respect the hard way. Throw in some neato sci-fi monsters, a few splatter and gore and quick witted pop culture references rapid firing at a mile a minute and it's all the fun you'll have in 90 minutes.
Quick rehashed plot revolves around a thug of youths led by Moses who mug Sam a girl who lives in the projects (is that what they call em in London?). Soon our ragtag group of misfits (3 blacks, 1 white boy, Sam, pot smoker Brewis) are running and dodging these reject monsters from Star Wars. Aided by Nick Frost and also on the run from a kingpin drug dealer, the block is all in chaos in this one night.
The action scenes are well executed. The kids have bikes, scooters to aid in their escapes and they've got the weapons and use em. Samurai swords, knives and fireworks (the dangerous kind) all come into play and shit gets real fast for them. But these same kids, supposedly tough as nails get scared too. It's this balance in characters that makes them feel human and empathetic. The fact they know the choices they make have consequences is a theme throughout. Lots of good suspense and wicked kills are littered throughout ATB and director Joe Cornish paces it nicely.
He also puts in great scenes of funny jampacked with British references. They call the monsters gollums (LOTR) and Dobbies (HP) and it breaks the tension to have them be all kids in such an adult situation. Any reference to video games will give me a chuckle.
Sure it's a bit silly at times and the monsters aren't very memorable as they should be, but it's forgivable. Clearly we get racial overtones and "the feds" are willing to go all Rodney King on any black youth we see. I mean after seeing the shit that went down during the London riots (that video of the foreign exchange kid getting jumped comes to mind) you really want to hate these brothas from south London in real life and in this movie. But it's all about the choices they make and here they make the right ones.
Attack the Block is a sci-fi kid adventure and twisting the protagonists around makes it worthwhile. You'll rarely see a film that takes the outrageous cheesiness of furry alien monsters and blend it in with thug life. It's a one of a kind movie, one with charm and scares.
Check out the trailer.