Oct 12 2011 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
SOMETIMES being a good guy isn’t always enough.
So when the time comes to fight dirty it’s down to the so-called bad lads to step up and save the day.
Faced with fang-teethed aliens who would you rather have batting for you – riot police with a protocol to follow or a bunch of streetwise youths with an unwritten honour code, an arsenal of dodgy but lethal weapons, and for whom – most importantly – losing face in front of their mates is just not worth contemplating.
“Attack the Block” comes from the producers of one of my favourite movies, Shaun of the Dead.
And true to form, the movie rule book is thrown out of a 12th storey window, and the nearest thing to PC in the whole thing are the cops who don’t last two minutes.
In a nutshell it’s a fast paced action film that pits a teen street gang against an invasion of alien monsters.
In my day we had clean cut young suburban kids wearing sneakers, riding their bikes, and helping out their pal and his alien friend ET while a John Williams soundtrack played to a crescendo to induce yet more sobbing.
Cut to 2011. The BMX bikes are still there, but the heroes of the piece are knife-wielding hoodies who mug lone women, are on first name terms with the local drug dealer, and the only way their music of choice would reduce you to tears would be if your eardrums were bleeding after listening to it through your bedroom wall until 3am.
Attack The Block is a fast-paced, bloody – and hilarious – action movie.
It turns a London housing project into a sci-fi battleground, the rundown multi-storey flats into a fortress under siege, and a ragtag bunch of tough street kids into a team of kick ass heroes. It’s inner city versus outer space.
There is absolutely nothing about this film that should work. Zilch.
You’ll question the wisdom of allowing this bunch of hoodies to be viewed as the unlikely saviours of their community – and the planet – and you’ll question the sanity of writer and director Joe Cornish in landing aliens in the middle of one of the worst housing estates in London rather than in Westminster or Buckingham Palace.
Then again, they seem to have taken a shine to Bonnybridge over the years so who are we to decide their holiday destinations for them?
For the monsters, landing in a London estate is akin to the Brits descending on Magaluf for a fortnight of drunken debauchery.
The hoodies of the block, however, are having none of it. This is their patch and whether you’re from the other side of the Thames or from Mars you’re not getting one piece of it.
You could get hung up in a big debate over whether this movie is a social commentary.
But, other than to acknowledge that it quite masterfully alters your opinion of these bad boys over the course of the film and gives you an insight into their lives and their psyche, I reckon you should just sit back and enjoy.
One of the reasons it is so funny is because the young actors very cleverly play it straight instead of hamming it up for cheap laughs. By “keeping it real” (apologies for starting to sound like Richard Madeley doing his Ali G impersonation) they stop it becoming pure farce and ensure the audience is well and truly caught up and on their side – against all odds.
It’s no slight to Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost to say they are overshadowed by their young co-stars – in fact I suspect they will be quite proud of them, as well they should.
Like “Shaun” or “Hot Fuzz” this is destined to be a cult hit, and one you’ll happily watch time and time again.
These are hoodies definitely worth hugging.
DVD SUPPLIED BY VIDEO DRIVE IN, GLASGOW ROAD AND BARNTON STREET, STIRLING.