At the Movies: Attack The Block

Well, this is embarrassing. I’m checking my schedules this morning and discover that “Attack the Block” opened Friday. So I guess I should pump out a review now instead of watching “CBS Sunday Morning.” I hope this two-day-late review hasn’t disrupted anyone’s plans.

“Attack the Block” is another quirky British film that mixes comedy, action and horror (think “Shawn of the Dead”). It’s a pretty clever flick and I have just minor qualms about it.

The film opens with a young nurse named Sam (Jodie Whittaker) walking alone at night through a South London block where she’s mugged at knifepoint by a gang of teenage thugs led by Moses (John Boyega). The mugging is interrupted by a fireball that comes crashing out of the sky.

Moses goes to investigate and is attacked by a small, hairless creature that slashes his face and runs off. Sam runs off as well and the boys decided they’d rather go after the mystery creature. They beat it to death and proudly carry it through the neighborhood.

No one knows what it is, so they take it to Ron (Nick Frost) , who watches a lot of nature documentaries. Ron doesn’t recognize it and they conclude it must be an alien. That theory proves correct as more fireballs come crashing to earth.

Yes, it’s another alien invasion story.  What’s with all the alien invasion stories lately? If I was the kind of movie reviewer who likes to claim meaningless trends between movies and the world we live in, I’d look into it. But I’m not that smart, so back to the plot synopsis.

Moses and his crew decide they’re not letting these little hairless aliens take over their block, so they rush out armed with fireworks, a baseball bat and a samurai sword. Unfortunately, the latest arrivals are not weak hairless aliens but rather are large and hairy with glow-in-the-dark fangs.

Things get more complicated. The police are after Moses for mugging Sam and the self-styled top thug in the block, Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), is also gunning or Moses. Oh, and the wolf-like aliens seem especially drawn to Moses, and not in a good way.

“Attack the Block” is the best of the alien invasion movies that have invaded theaters this year. The mix of humor, horror and action works for the most part. The comedy isn’t as much in the forefront as in “Shawn of the Dead,” and the humor is mostly focused on the supporting characters.

Of course, you may be wondering how black-furred, wolf-like, seemingly mindless alien invaders managed to master interstellar travel. That’s actually the only plot hole in this well-constructed story.

The only thing that bothered me about the movie is the way the boys start out as muggers and punks and remained mostly unrepentant even while working with Sam. Turning Moses into some kind of mistreated folk hero didn’t sit right with me.

Did it work for me? Yeah, at first it was kind of hard to take seriously a movie about bike-riding teens fighting off alien invaders, but then I went with it and it was quite fun.




One response to “At the Movies: Attack The Block

  1. The only plot hole? There are plot holes in this film that even Spielberg would notice.

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