Friday, 22 February 2013

Attack the Block (UK, 2011)





















My first impressions for this British made sci-fi were not good, not good at all. We are introduced to a small gang of South London youths in your typical modern day gang get up...hoodies, baseball caps, tracksuits, gold chains around their necks, riding bikes and the obligatory Staffy pet dog. This foul mouthed bunch of yobs go about robbing a female passer by at knife point clearly relishing every moment of it. Its at this point I immediately hated what I saw.

Maybe its because I live in South London, I know London very well and have experienced gangs like this in reality. Maybe its the fact that South London is exactly like this with massive problems of gang culture, knife attacks, muggings and (some) youths generally acting as portrayed in this film. The gang consists of teens, mainly black with one white boy (who typically thinks/pretends he's black). Unless you know South London you will probably need a translator to understand what they are saying in this dreadful gangland/street culture way of speech that has evolved in London. The dialog is chock full of 'bruv' 'cous' 'blood' 'innit' 'for real' 'ghosting' 'ducking' 'breezing' 'fam' etc...they sound like morons and I hear it often in everyday life.

Yeah I know I sound like an old fart but this is what we have to put up with in South London, this film is very accurate, so much so its annoying. So basically I found myself hating the main characters in this film right from the word go, this gang are the 'heroes' as it were and we're suppose to root for them? yeah right. Twas only when the invaders popped up I got into this, well once this gang started to get some extraterrestrial 'retribution'.

The actual sci-fi element of the film is pretty good I must admit. The whole things runs along the same kind of lines as 'Aliens' (and tonnes of others) with the standard escape plot and the standard 'characters getting killed off one by one' idea. Nothing original but it is very effective setting it within the confines of a tower block.

It doesn't seem totally thought out though as why would these aliens only stick to this one block? there is a reason of course but surely they would spread out and explore. Also you'd think with all the noise, violence, bodies and general racket going off people might notice and call the police, surely there would be 999 calls going off every minute. Also no one ever thinks that maybe the discovery of alien life might be kinda important, if you wanna make money then maybe tell someone instead of smoking weed.

I must also give huge kudos to the design for the aliens as they look truly terrific. At first you're thinking they are gonna look rubbery and cheap (especially after the first encounter), but with a combination of CGI and men in suits the look is really quite eerie and original at the same time, amazingly! Think big pitch black coloured gorillas with a set of bioluminescent jaws (teeth) that glow blue, sounds odd I know but they are highly effective and really lift the film. You wouldn't think this was a cheapish simple Brit flick horror, if it wasn't for the aliens this wouldn't be half as good.

So yes I enjoyed the alien aspect of the film and it doesn't hold back on blood n gore which is good. The main problem for me was the gang of scrotes that are fighting the aliens and meant to be bad guys turned good in a coming of age kind of way. This is in no way a feel good 'Goonies/Stand By Me' type group, far from it. Bottom line is they are all thoroughly unlikeable and I REALLY wanted all of them to get eaten by the creatures so badly. To be honest I'm sure there would be many South Londoners that would agree, if only there were some real monsters cleaning up the streets by eating all the hooligans.

5/10
(mainly just for the aliens)