Aliens in the hood

Invasion of the inner-city streets of London is a hit

Attack the Block
Ends tonight, Sept. 29. Pageant Theatre. Rated R.
Rated 5.0

While on the surface Attack the Block is nothing at all like Shaun of the Dead, it is directed by Joe Cornish, a protégé of Edgar Wright (writer/director of Shaun and the woefully underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and features Shaun star Nick Frost as a pot dealer. And while it’s hard to live up to the brilliant and funny zombie movie, Attack the Block is just plain, delirious fun in its own right.

The movie opens with a bunch of teenage thugs in the process of mugging a nurse in a patch of inner-city despair when a meteor crashes the party and expels a toothy alien who soon bails after putting his fangs to use for a bit of “Taste me some of your leader.” And so the kids promptly grab their bikes and chase after the critter like The Goonies on crack. Not implying that inner-city kids are on crack, it’s just a metaphor (although one does smoke some pot, but it’s purely for medicinal reasons).

That alien is just the first in a huge wave of space invaders trying to make inner-city London their bitch. And this next bunch is a lot nastier, described by the kids as a pack of “gorilla-wolf-motherf[indecipherable]ckers.” The creatures are pretty cool minimalist creations—like furry black holes with glow-stick teeth.

And so the kids team up with the nurse from the beginning and try to defend their turf with bottle rockets and baseball bats. That’s pretty much it. But it’s done with all sorts of awesome.

If the movie has a weakness, it’s that I couldn’t understand half of what the British kids were saying to each other. It didn’t really matter though. Cornish has a solid knack for showing-not-telling, so what the kids were saying—in what amounted to a foreign language—was irrelevant.

The big picture is that, as brilliant as Shaun of the Dead was, there isn’t a sequel, so Attack the Block is as close as we are gonna get. And it’s really close.