Monday, December 05, 2011

Blokes R Us

Attack the Block (2011)
directed by Joe Cornish
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

A fun movie starring kids more than a great movie about kids, Attack the Block turns an alien invasion into a kind of fantasy league Nerf war. It takes place in and around a tower block in South London where a teenage gang has just held up a twenty-something nurse on her way home from work. But of course the gang is really just a gaggle of likable, misguided pals who pool their resources - mostly fireworks - to beat back a mob of furry extraterrestrials.

The creatures are scary and people do die, but this is first and foremost a comedy built around interactions between friends. Two pre-adolescent boys tag along and insist that everyone call them made-up names, while the team proper checks in on the local drug lord, who not surprisingly scares everyone out of his wits. I can only assume that Nick Frost chimes in on behalf of the producers, since the rest of the cast is comprised of unknowns. He's cute as always but doesn't quite belong.

Part of me couldn't help imagining Guy Ritchie directing a movie like this with Jason Statham, Gerard Butler, and Vinnie Jones as bad-to-the-bone gangsters forced to fend off an army of tribbles. That would be funny but would feel like a gimmick; Attack the Block is a solid idea well-executed, even if it never quite tops the considerable promise of its premise. But Moses and company in a Home Alone-style high-rise melee against Ritchie's best sing-along crew? Sequel time!