a Primal Root written review
“This is too much madness to explain in one text!” – Jerome, Attack the Block
Did you see this summer’s Super 8? The ultimate tribute to Speilberg style sentimentality set against a small town’s own little alien apocalypse that pulls at the heart strings as people are getting their heads crushed and fathers learn to forgive? Yeah, me too. I thought it was good for what it was…done to death (but never with as many lens flares) and a bit contrived, but it was kind of sweet even if it was clinically brain dead and out of touch.
And then there’s Attack the Block, a badass, go for broke alien invasion movie (of sorts) that pulls no punches, delivers a believable coming of age message and refuses to give all the kids in the film their own little happy ending…unless you consider getting your head bitten off and then chucked across the room a happy ending, which just might be for some of you weirdos! ( You know I love you.
Attack the Blocks opens as a rather attractive young woman named Sam (Jodie Whittaker) is attacked outside of her apartment complex in London by a group of 5 teenagers. Just as they get her wallet and the ring off her finger something crash lands into the roof of a parked car. The lovely young woman runs off and the ring leader of our motley crew of Thug Life Goonies, Moses (John Boyega) is attacked by a fuzzy monkey monster with a gob full of shark teeth. After the initial attack Moses vows the kill whatever the Hell just attacked him, and keeping to his word, Moses and pals track the thing down and crush it’s skull. And this all takes place before the title even appears.
As you might guess, these actions call down the fury of some other aliens who are a total different breed of monster than the one the gang brutally stomped to death earlier. And these creaures are quite the sight to behold. Giant, deep black, dog-like monsters who run on all fours and sport glowing blue mouths full of rows and rows of razor sharp teeth intent of ripping apart anything and everything that gets in the way of their goal. The kind of resemble what the Muppets in Hell might look like…
Along the way, our heroes not only have to try and avoid and do battle with these unnamed monstrosities, but they are also being tracked down by a ruthless, jackhole of a drug dealer by the name of Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) who can’t aim his gun worth a damn, has the top floor penthouse suite on the block where he grows enough weed to fill an entire room, and doesn’t give a flying fuck about the flesh hungry aline monsters on a rampage, He just wants to pop a cap in Moses for reasons I will let you find our for yourself.
I was surprised by Attack the Block after hearing so many mixed reviews. It’s a blast of pure energy and an honest take on a corrupted youth culture who puts an emphasis on the perceived Scarface rule of respect being a one way street and bullying people in order to get that kind of respect. As the gang is chased around the block by these beasts they are repeatedly confronted with the repercussions of their own thuggish actions in how people react to and treat them. That, in fact, you ARE responsible for your own actions and you do have a choice. Because however you take on a situation, however you treat others and the actions you make, will always have repercussions.
Not a bad message for a movie littered with dead kids, immolated aliens corpses and plenty of fireworks. Really, our main character Moses goes through quite the transformation as the movie progresses as he steadily realizes the errors of his ways. At first blaming society, and then the government and then coming to terms with the idea that he just might be responsible for the hellish situation he’s currently in.
Sometimes you have to man up and take responsibility for your actions. And sometimes you have to risk life and limb to make amends to the ones you’ve wronged and the one’s who are indirectly affected by your own actions. Attack the Block is about growing up not just into a man, but into a responsible one. One willing to put things right and take responsibility. That it takes more courage to make things right than it does toconstantly blame everyone else.
If you ask me, it’s a damn good message and one worth sending. Especially if you are able to deliver it with such an entertaining mix of alien carnage, samurai sword battles, explosions and epic one liners.
Did I mention the awesome score by Basement Jaxx?