Attack the Block!
Attack the Block, written and directed by Brit newcomer Joe Cornish, is one of those little movies that needs a booster club. It’s smart, energetic and offers a peculiarly-modern take on social convention, race and class, mostly because it doesn’t talk about the integrated ethnicity of the cast. It’s just how things are and it’s very refreshing that no one dwells on it. The plot involves a group of relatively-harmless young hoods squaring off against an alien invasion of ink-black muppets in a housing project in South London.
The film comes from the producers of Shaun of the Dead, and while it isn’t as polished as Edgar Wright’s mini-masterpiece, Attack the Block works on a kind of Goonies-in-the-’Hood level that’s both infectious and fun. The writing, dialogue and characters all fit rather nicely together and it’s R-rating is a bit of a drag because other than a couple of messy blood-splatters and a brief face-chewing scene, there isn’t much in Attack the Block to warrant the rating. The language is a bit blue and half of the cast is baked on weed the entire movie, but it’s nothing the average 14-year-old hasn’t seen, said or done a thousand times already.
The leader of the crew is an excellent young actor named John Boyega and he delivers a terrific performance that would seem to suggest that we haven’t seen the last of him. Once the invasion is underway, the band of mini-hoods turn out to be more appealing than menacing and it’s in these scenes that they prove themselves to be decent and oddly noble for a bunch of street thugs.
Cornish picks his way through a tickle trunk of ’80s pop-flicks and pulls samplings from a variety of classics from Donner’s The Goonies to Carpenter’s Escape from New York. There’s even a little Die Hard in the proceedings. The monsters are a little creaky, but they’re all just metaphor anyways. You’ll need to look past some of the low-budget trappings of the genre, but Attack the Block is a real treat for those who are willing and one of the best Brit imports in recent memory.