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A group of London teens find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion and fight to defend their tower block from some evil extraterrestrials.
Remember that scene towards the end of True Romance where Alabama hands Clarence a napkin with a little note written on it that says "You're so cool"? Ya, I kinda want to hand Attack The Block the same note right about now.
When it comes to genre flicks, certain types of films are oftentimes done to death and executed so similarly in so many different movies that you just kinda get tired of the sub-genres in question as a whole. Over the years, everything from vampires to ghosts to zombies have all been beaten into the ground by filmmakers copying filmmakers who are copying other filmmakers, and aliens are certainly no exception of late. Alien invasion flicks are a dime a dozen these days and it's almost hard to even differentiate between them at times, being that the themes explored and the looks of the aliens themselves tend to be so damn similar from one film to the next. And then, every once in a while, you get a film that takes such a wildly different approach to the subject matter that the whole ordeal feels fresh and exciting again. Joe Cornish's UK hit Attack The Block is one such film, a new take on a tired formula that is absolutely out of this world awesome, one of the most original alien invasion flicks in many years.
Though it's totally current and as fresh as a fountain soda, there's also something about the film that feels like a throwback to more of the 80's style creature flick, with lots of practical monster FX (both dudes in suits & animatronics) and alien beasties that look more akin to something you'd see in Gremlins or Critters than the towering monstrosities that alien invasion films of late all seem to possess. Like I said a minute ago, all those recent movies seem to have creatures that look like carbon copies of one another and it's so cool to see furry little monsters (with indiglo teeth, no less!) prowling the streets again. There is some CG in there, though it's never really noticeable, which adds to that throwback sensibility and vibe the film has got going on. But again, the name of the game here is originality, as Cornish takes that 80's style kids adventuring and battling aliens flick and turns it on its head, by having the innocent Elliot type characters replaced with sword and gun toting underage criminals (which I guess makes this one Spielberg in da hood), gangbanging dirtballs on the surface who quickly morph into quite a likeable cast of characters, perhaps the most fun cast of kids a group of alien beings have ever crash landed upon. It's that super cool mixture of the new and the throwback elements that makes the film so gosh darn awesome.
At just under an hour and a half, Attack The Block is a frenetic shot of fun injected directly into the eyeballs, a film that wastes absolutely no time showing the audience one hell of a good time, a good time that's almost always accompanied by a kickass soundtrack. It's funny, it's gory, it's all kinds of fun and, perhaps most of all, it's one damn cool piece of cinema, the most entertaining depiction of an alien invasion in recent memory. While most alien invasion flicks of late have been overwrought with messages and deeper meaning (not that there's anything wrong with that...), Attack The Block is perfectly fine being 90 minutes of pure escapist fun, which it most certainly is. It's one of those movies thats only fault is that it has to end. And by its end, I can almost guarantee you'll be left with a big ole smile on your face.
Attack The Block is further proof that creativity and solid writing trump big budgets ten times out of ten and it's a welcome addition to the recent resurgence of Amblin style films that Super 8 and Rare Exports recently kickstarted. Being such a fan of those types of movies growing up, and still to this day, I guess it only makes sense that the three aforementioned films have been three of my favorites of the year, eh?
Before you sit down to watch Attack The Block, which I highly recommend you do, you might want to print out the cheat sheet of slang terms used in the film that website Rope of Silicon drew up. The British hoodlums use lots of slang words like 'merked' and 'bruv' and it's nice to have that cheat sheet by your side in case you don't know what the hell they're talking about!