Herek, Stephen – Rock Star (DVD)

Reviewed: September 2001
Released: 2001, Warner Brothers
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG


A Hollywood film very loosely based on the discovery of Tim \’Ripper\’ Owens. Original title: Metal God.

The reason for including a MOVIE review here is because this movie is about 80’s heavy metal. A nostalgic trip for many of us back to a time when bands like Motley Crue and Judas Priest still played to sold out arenas. It’s been a while since I was waiting for a movie like I have been for ROCK STAR and after seeing the movie I am not disappointed. For once, the end result lives up to the hype.

Everyone knows that the story to this movie is very loosely based on the story of Tim (Ripper) Owens. Once upon a time, Tim was a vocalist in a Judas Priest tribute band (he also was in an original band called Winter’s Bane). When Priest lost their front man, Tim got the job. This is basically where the similarities between the real life story and the movie end. Some people are upset that the story deviated from reality…but so what!?! This is a MOVIE; it’s not a documentary. The other problem some people have with this movie is that they say it has nothing to do with heavy metal. Well it has everything to do with 80’s heavy metal. The songs performed by the fictitious band Steel Dragon in the movie sound like killer 80’s metal! Also, some of the real life metal/hard rock \”stars\” who appear in the movie include: drummer Blas Elias (Slaughter), bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken , Dio), guitarist Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy) and drummer Jason Bonham. Besides appearing in the movie, a number of others contribute to the soundtrack. Most of Mark’s vocals are done by Michael Matijevic (Steelheart). The song in the movie entitled \”We All Die Young\”, is the first song on Steelheart\’s 1996 release, WAIT. Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie J. Malmsteen) is also listed in the credits for vocals along with a few other vocalists.

So here’s a brief synopsis of the story line (if you haven’t seen the movie you might want to skip the paragraph because I will mention some of what happens in the movie!!). Chris Cole (Mark Wahlberg) plays in a tribute band called Blood Pollution. They are a tribute to his favorite band – Steel Dragon. Early in the movie he finds himself kicked out of his band and soon receives a call from the guitarist in the real Steel Dragon to fly to L.A. to try out. He succeeds and so begins his stint with the band. The movie follows through the band’s road antics which I thought was a bit overdone on the sex and partying – for sure some of the bands experienced this and since Jeff Pilson was basically a creative consultant who knows how exaggerated this is? All good things must come to an end, especially in the land of eternal partying. In this case it ends with Chris (aka Izzy) leaving the band to play in a ½ assed Hootie and the Blowboys alternashit band. What the fuck?!?! This is my MAIN complaint with the movie. It’s like it makes the point that people grow out of metal. That’s at the end of the movie so it’s not like that rest of the movie doesn’t have it’s highlights. Some of the highlights on the movie that I liked included the \”car scene.\” The guys in Blood Pollution are cruising along in their car cranking the metal…headbanging, singing along, etc. They pull up alongside a truck with two redneck looking construction workers and Chris (aka Wahlberg) looks over at them screaming along with the music and flashed them the salute m/ – Hilarious!! I can remember being a clown like that when I was a teenager, driving around with metal cranking and yelling at people!!! My other favorite scene is when Chris makes his audition for Steel Dragon. He’s in a soundproof room made of clear glass surrounded by the band and engineers. You can feel the tension and realize the stress he’s under. I wonder what it was like for Ripper trying out? After a few false starts he nails it…excellent vocals!!

Anyway I’ll leave some of the goodies for you to discover when you see the movie. This is one I’ll be buying on DVD! With luck maybe they will put some cool interviews with the real \”rock\” stars on the DVD and videos etc.


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Technical Details:
Format Reviewed:
Run Time: 1 hour, 36
Sound: Dolby Digital
Production Year: 2001




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