November 4, 2011 -- There are some links between this action comedy about punks, stoners and crooks battling space aliens in a London suburb and some of the best comedies in recent years, namely “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World,” "Paul," “Hot Fuzz” and “Shawn of the Dead.” One is actor-writer Nick Frost, who appears in this movie, and in all but one of the movies listed above. The other is producer Nira Park who also produced all those other films. I don't know how much credit to give her for these remarkable films, but she has good taste and judgement. Another link between “Attack the Block” and those other films is that it successfully combines action with wit, social commentary and comedy. Producer James Wilson and other producers also were involved in some of these other successful films mentioned above.
“Attack the Block” is about a neighborhood under siege from deadly space aliens. These are not aliens with ray guns and space ships. They are more like wild animals, primitive and aggressive. While the authorities seem not to be effective against these creatures, a street gang of teenagers, led by Moses (John Boyega) fights back, defending their block.
Drug dealer Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) disagrees with Moses. Hi-Hatz says he owns this block, ruling it from a penthouse apartment where he grows his own marijuana. He hands Moses some dope and tells him to sell it, or else. Hi-Hatz says to Moses, “I own you.” Soon Hi-Hatz becomes his enemy, one more thing Moses and his gang have to overcome. Hi-Hatz, not the sharpest tool in the shed, decides to hunt down Moses and kill him right in the middle of an alien invasion.
Moses is a witness to the arrival of the first creature, which attacks him. In revenge, he hunts it down and kills it with the rest of his gang, unwittingly setting off a chain of events that leads many more of the creatures, larger ones, right to his door. Moses and his gang earlier that same evening rob a young nurse, Sam (Jodie Whittaker of “Venus”). In a twist of fate, Sam has to tag along with the gang for protection from the aliens. As Hi-Hatz and his gang, and a large number of creatures pursue them, Moses and his gang must use all their wits, and their knowledge of biology gleaned from wildlife TV shows, to survive.
Others who help include Ron (Nick Frost of “Hot Fuzz”) a drug dealer, and a stoner, Brewis (Luke Treadaway of “Clash of the Titans”) who has watched countless hours of animal nature shows on TV. The film includes a lot of humor. A couple of young kids who want to join Moses' gang provide some comic relief as they attack an alien with a squirt gun to rescue a gang member. There is also a lot of irony in the film, including a stoner solving the mystery of the aliens, and the fact that the safest place in the block turns out to be a drug dealer's apartment. One of the endearing things about this film is that unlike most films these days, it has real heroes. This film is very effective, despite its small budget and lack of star power. It rates a B.
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