Sunday, August 7, 2016

Attack The Block

Every now and again, one way or another, some cult-film crosses my path somehow. Either by total accident, or because I just couldn't ignore it any longer. This time, Netflix was out and the PSN wouldn't connect to download the Amazon Prime app while the free trial is valid, so we wound up browsing through YouTube looking for something to watch. Eventually, we stumbled upon this film somehow, and I recommended that we keep watching because it has John Boyega in it. I wasn't really expecting much, since I'd never heard anything about the film except that it existed. What I got was possibly one of the best horror-comedies of all time. Not exactly Blood Punch levels of hilarious and brutal, but still pretty damn freaking good, especially for a directorial debut. The directors of The Angry Birds Movie could learn a thing or two from Joe Cornish. Not that these movies share a genre or anything, but if someone made an Angry Birds horror-comedy I would watch it. Probably wouldn't be that great, but it'd be interesting to see.
Spoilers inbound as usual, let's go!
While walking home on Guy Fawkes Night, Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker) is robbed by a gang of hoods, consisting of Pest, (Alex Esmail, not the second Gorgoroth front-man) Dennis, (Franz Drameh) Jerome, (Leeon Jones) Biggz, (Simon Howard) and the leader of the gang, Moses, (John Boyega). They steal some things from Samantha, but a meteorite crashes into a nearby car, allowing her to get away.
Moses goes to check it out and loot the car, but is scratched by a creature that emerges from the wreckage. The thing runs away, but the gang gives chase, and kills it. If you've seen Ben 10, just picture a hairless, miniature Wild-Mutt.
The gang hauls their prize back to the council-estate (Government-funded public housing) they live in, nick-named "The Block" and get high at their drug-dealer, Ron's (Nick Frost) apartment while they discuss their plans to get rich off the corpse of the alien.
They ask Ron and his boss Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) if they can store the alien in the weed-room while they sort things out. Hi-Hatz agrees, but only if Moses will sell some weed for him. They go back to their weed for a bit, and then more creatures start falling from the sky. Feeling confident in their abilities, they head out to hunt more of the creatures. Armed with swords, bats, fireworks, a machete, and a dog, they head out on bicycles and a mo-ped towards the park. There, they find that the other creatures that have landed are big, brawny, and have glowing teeth. The dogs runs off and is presumably eaten by the creature, and the gang flees the scene.
Meanwhile, Samantha has told the police about her encounter with the gang, and the two officers who responded intercept Moses, and arrest him.They find the weed that Hi-Hatz told him to sell, and confiscate it. They throw him in the van, but both of them are killed by two of the monsters. The gang drops a smoke-bomb into the fray and Dennis dashes to the van and drives it away from the monsters.
Eventually they crash into Hi-Hatz' car, who doesn't believe that Moses and them were attacked by gorilla-sized aliens before losing the weed until him and his goons are attacked by one of them. The gang flees back to the block, but Pest is attacked by a monster and bitten, and Biggz is separated from the group, and winds up hiding in a dumpster.
Moses and company make their way through the building, eventually finding Samantha. Having found a hospital nurses ID in her wallet, they force their way into her apartment and make her treat Pest's injured leg. She doesn't believe them about the monsters until one of them forces its way into her apartment and Moses has to kill it with the Katana Dennis was using earlier. The gang flees the compromised apartment, and Samantha joins them since she's more likely to be safe with them than on her own, taking a kitchen knife to defend herself with.
They go to the apartment of... I think the sister of one of the gang members, who have a gate on their door. The gate doesn't protect them since the monsters climb up the side of the tower and break in. Moses tries to fight back, but the Katana gets stuck in the wall. Samantha stabs the monster going after Moses in the neck, and the other monsters get zapped, chopped and generally beaten to death by the girls who live in the apartment. In the hallway, the gang get attacked by Hi-Hatz and his crew, who have armed themselves with heavier weapons to kill the monsters faster. Fortunately, one of the monsters goes after Hatz and his crew after being attacked, giving the gang time to escape.They decide to barricade themselves inside Hatz's weed-room and wait the invasion out. On the way up, they meet up with one of Ron's customers, Brewis (Luke Treadway). Brewis was the one whose car the first monster smashed into at the beginning of the film. He's high off his ass on weed, and is kind of useless, but they take him with them back up to the penthouse. On the way they run into some monsters, and pull out some more fireworks to distract then. The hallway is filled with smoke, and the gang gets disoriented. Dennis smashes into a wall and gets jumped by a monster. Pest goes back to look for him, but a monster bites Dennis's head off, and the gang flees to the penthouse.
Meanwhile, Biggz is saved by a couple of local kids who kill a monster with a super-soaker full of gasoline and a rocket. Biggz calls up the rest of the gang to tell them the monsters are vulnerable to fire as well as bullets and swords. A good thing to know, since they can tank lots of bullets.
They come up with a plan to blow up the monsters, but can't figure out how to lure all the monsters to one place until they notice some stains on Moses's clothes under the black-lights. Brewis suggests that the smaller creature they killed earlier might have excreted pheromones onto the gang that cause the others to come after them, with Moses having the vast majority of the stains on him, since he encountered the creature first. Moses has Samantha go into his apartment and turn all the gas on in the place, and then to flee to the outside. They pack all the contaminated clothing and the corpse itself into Pest's backpack, and Moses makes a mad dash for his apartment. With the katana, a lighter, and two remaining fireworks in-hand, he rushes through the horde, blows them up, and saves the world, presumably. None of the other monsters really show up in the ending, and I'd prefer to think of this as a happy-ending. Yeah, there's the question as to why all of them landed in Britain in that one spot, but if you can believe it for Doctor Who you can believe it for this.
Moses is blown out of the open window, but catches himself on a Union Flag. He and a few other members of the gang are arrested by the police, but hailed as heroes by the crowd and defended by Samantha. I presume that they get commendations and knighthoods because of this, before being recruited by UNIT or Torchwood, depending on who gets to them first. Possibly both depending on who's running UNIT.
All in all, this is one damn fine movie. It more than filled the gap between Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad. I would have watched the last Bourne movie, but I completely forgot that the new one was coming out. I wasn't even aware that Jason Bourne was the films final title. I thought they'd go for the name of one of the novels. Jason Bourne makes me think of Rocky Balboa or John Rambo, same-name sequels that aren't reboots.
The Anglosphere seems to do horror-comedy the way nobody else does. Visceral, punchy, and humorous in a way that's darker than the fur of the monsters in this film. As I said before, while the movie isn't quite as visceral and punchy as Blood Punch, it makes up for it with the moments of sheer laugh-out-loud absurdity that it does have. It's also got better visual and audio effects than Blood Punch, but that alone can't make it a better movie. I will say this though, at least there's no bizarrely-shot, poorly choreographed gun-fight towards the end of the film.
In the end, as much as I can compare it to Blood Punch, they are two very different films trying for very different feels. I give it an 8.5* rating.

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