Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A bunch of South London adolescent thugs are in the process of mugging this poor young woman in the movie ‘Attack the Block’ and here I am watching another movie about London’s disaffected, violent youth problem. For a minute I’m thinking that London isn’t a place I’d want to visit anytime time soon due their various issues, but then I remembered that I live in Detroit and all is well again. Whatever disaffected London youth… shape up. We have a senior citizen population which comes harder than you kids. That’s why those aliens fell from the sky in your neighborhood and not in mine, because they knew better.

So this little gang, run by young Moses (John Boyega), rob poor Sam (Jodie Whittaker) and Sam is none too happy about this, which makes her curse a lot. Next thing you know a small meteor hits a car and inside this wrecked ride is a little bitty violent looking alien which runs off. Moses and his crew of future cellblock residents, which consists of Dennis (Franz Drameh), Pest (Alex Esmail), Hi Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) and Jerome (Leeon James), chase this thing down and Moses kills it. Life goes on.

Or not. Because the next thing you know more meteor looking objects fall from the sky, and while that other alien was small and vicious looking, these new aliens are plenty vicious looking but they are not small at all. Initially our young crew of thugs was feeling pretty good about themselves, considering how easy they took out alien number one. Then they encountered one of these considerably larger creatures with the awesome glow-in-the-dark chompers, and the fight response is replaced by the flight response. Worst yet, the Block is under Attack.

While fleeing in terror, our young charges have managed to drag the poor mugging victim Sam into their situation, which makes her even more unhappy and more profane. The thing about this alien attack is these things seem to be locked in on our young group of thugs for whatever reason. It’s a good thing that we have chronic weed smoker and avid nature expert Brewis (Luke Treadway) on board who has also been blessed with the alien attack explanation gene. Always comes in handy in situations like this.

Young Moses might’ve started this movie as a ne’er do well thug, but if the block is going to be saved, he realizes that he’s going to have to be the one to do it. Besides, he’s just an unfortunate byproduct of his environment. If they had some kind of community programs for these kids, say like an after school alien slaying curriculum or something like that, maybe they’d be on a different path. Regardless, good luck with that whole alien stopping, saving the block business Moses.

One part horror movie, one part action flick, one part social statement all part awesome… that’s about all we have to say about Joe Cornish and his movie ‘Attack the Block’. But while I’m more than content to leave it at that, the powers that be demand that I expound and embellish to reach my word quota.

The concern as we begin with ‘Attack the Block’, and observe Moses and his crew of young violent slackers attack poor Sam, would be how are we going to be able to root for these guys against these aliens. It’s never a good thing in a movie when we end up rooting for the bad guy, but this is part of the minor miracle of ‘Attack the Block’ and how efficient this film is. It is a relatively short film, running around 80 minutes minus credits and stuff, but every minute of this film is filled with something relevant to the development of the story. The musical score crescendos, our thugs turned heroes race to retrieve weapons to fight the alien menace, but in between that you do get a hint of some character development and who these kids are. The entire movie is set up this way, squeezing in relevant plot points in between mad action while the down time, of which there isn’t much of in this movie, conversely adds to the tension which will invariably lead to more mad action.

Naturally a monster movie can’t be all that good if the monster is no good and our monsters here are pretty darned good. The monsters aren’t all that complex looking, appearing to be super hairy, eyeless, gorillas with multiple rows of glow in the dark razor teeth, but they are effective. Thankfully there’s a minimal use of CGI with our monsters consisting largely of some dudes stuck inside hairy suits, and we will always opt in for dudes in hairy suits over poorly executed, cut-rate CGI any day of the week.

If you enjoy high energy, sci-fi themed, monster alien invasion movies… and who in their right mind doesn’t enjoy those… then this finely acted, finely tuned adventure ride calling itself ‘Attack the Block’ is a can’t miss proposition.

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