John Boyega, now a mega-celebrity, began his ascent to stardom with his first significant role in the 2011 low-budget British science-fiction film Attack the Block. Combining horror, humor, and social commentary, the movie achieved cult status and became a pivotal launchpad for Boyega. Those interested in witnessing his breakout performance can now stream the film on Amazon Prime.
Before Star Wars made John Boyega a star, he was in the British sci-fi film Attack the Block, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Attack the Block is a gripping sci-fi thriller that unfolds in a council estate in South London during Guy Fawkes Night. While committing a mugging, a group of teenage gang members inadvertently becomes involved in an otherworldly encounter after witnessing a meteor crash.
When they eliminate the alien creature that emerges, their act of self-defense triggers a relentless invasion of larger, more ruthless extraterrestrial invaders, forcing them to transform from delinquent youths into reluctant heroes determined to protect their community.
Attack the Block boasts a stellar, albeit lesser-known, cast, with John Boyega making his notable feature film debut. Portraying the gang’s leader, Moses, Boyega masterfully presents a character initially seen as imposing. Yet, as the story unfolds, he morphs into a vulnerable teen navigating a tough environment.
John Boyega’s performance as Moses in Attack the Block was a breakout role for him. He went on to gain international fame by joining the Star Wars universe as Finn, one of the central characters in the sequel trilogy. Moreover, he’s also had prominent roles in movies like Detroit, Pacific Rim: Uprising, and The Woman King.
The supporting cast of Attack the Block includes Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, Nick Frost, Luke Treadaway, Jumayn Hunter, Danielle Vitalis, Paige Meade, and Sammy Williams. Reflecting the film’s setting and narrative, many cast members were budding artists local to the story’s locale.
Intriguingly, a film featurette revealed that teenage roles were filled from London council estate school drama classes, with candidates undergoing eight auditions before landing a part.
Critics lauded Attack the Block for its innovative approach to the alien-invasion trope and its adept weaving of socio-political commentary into an action-packed narrative.
The plot of Attack the Block sprang from the mind of Joe Cornish, inspired by a personal mugging incident. To infuse authenticity, Cornish delved into youth groups, querying kids on potential alien-fighting weapons. Skillfully countering the stereotypical ‘hoodie horror’ trope, he blended sci-fi horror with humor, showcasing his directorial finesse without compromising the film’s gravitas.
Attack the Block underwent filming across London from March to May 2010, including six intense weeks of night shoots. StudioCanal’s Optimum Releasing launched the film in the United Kingdom on May 11, 2011. Later, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions took the reins for North and Latin American distributions, premiering it in select United States theaters on July 29, 2011.
Critics lauded Attack the Block for its innovative approach to the alien-invasion trope and its adept weaving of socio-political commentary into an action-packed narrative. Praise was particularly directed towards Joe Cornish’s direction, which seamlessly combined horror elements with comedic undertones, and John Boyega’s compelling performance as Moses added depth and authenticity to the film’s portrayal of urban youth.
With its fusion of heart-pounding sequences, humor, and relevant themes, the film was recognized as an entertaining cinematic experience and a poignant reflection on community, identity, and the challenges faced by young people in urban settings.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Attack the Block sits with an impressive score of 91 percent from critics. Meanwhile, audiences were slightly more critical, granting it a score of 75 percent. While the film’s distinct characters and creature effects were lauded, some viewers felt it borrowed too heavily from earlier sci-fi movies.
A sequel to Attack the Block was announced in 2021, with John Boyega working on writing it alongside director Joe Cornish.
Commercially, Attack the Block underperformed, grossing a modest $6.2 million worldwide against a budget of $13 million. Its limited theatrical release likely contributed to its lackluster box office results. Yet, its cultural significance and robust home media sales eventually elevated it to cult classic status.
Although Attack the Block didn’t achieve blockbuster success, its cult status led to the announcement of a sequel in 2021. John Boyega mentioned to the Radio Times earlier this summer that he, alongside Joe Cornish, was in the midst of crafting the sequel’s story and script. Even if Attack the Block 2 has some distance to cover before hitting production, it’s nice to see it’s actively being worked on.
For now, both new and seasoned fans can enjoy Attack the Block on Amazon Prime. The film is not merely a sci-fi horror; it adeptly fuses thrilling action with insights into urban life. This blend offers a unique and captivating viewing experience for all.