Saturday, April 11, 2015
DETROIT METAL CITY (2008)
Directed By: Toshio Lee
Written By: Kiminori Wakasugi
Based on the Manga By: Mika Ohmori
Cinematography By: Koichi Nakayama
Editor: Takuya Taguchi
Cast: Ken’Ichi Matsuyama, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Ryuji Akiyama, Rosa Kato, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Adeyto, Gene Simmons
Soichi Negishi moved to Tokyo to chase his dream of becoming a musician playing stylish, Swedish-style pop. Instead, he finds himself leading the death metal band Detroit Metal City, or DMC, as the costumed and grotesquely made-up "demon emperor" Johannes Krauser II. Although he hates the role and the things he has to do as a member of the band, he has a definite talent for it. Adapted from the hit Japanese comic book by Kiminori Wakasugi, the movie follows Negishi's antics as he tries to reconcile the two very different sides of his life and find out what it really means to achieve his dream.
While having a broad subject, I can understand the need or use of such over the top comedic elements to tell the story and bring the subject home. It just starts to feel like you are bombarded with it in overkill. As it is in each and every scene.
The lead character is very annoying, not a good start. We get that he is meek, but the films characterization goes way over the top. As he is not only a nebbish cliche and a weakling, but also nervously twitching throughout the film. With a bowl haircut and constantly proving himself a weakling for those in the audience who don't get it. He's a Nerdy and awkward stereotype.
The premise of the film is interesting as it tries to get the most out of it's plot, but never feels like it engages it's audience more like it talks or lectures them. Then tries to be their friend.
The film goes for easy, stupid jokes and humor that feels like it belongs in a Troma studios warehouse only much more cleaner in subjects and spirit. As it stays clean though tries to flirt with the dark side.
This film wouldn't even work if it was made in the 80's or 90's. Which with it's sensibilities and subject matter seems to be what it wants to be set in.
The film even comes complete with a manager who seems lien she would be more welcome in a superhero movie or at least a Power Rangers one. That is how over the top she is played.
It doesn't help that his main dilemma is that he is the cause of his own problems. If he didn't always play the victim and stick up for himself, he wouldn't have these problems. As no one forced him into this existence and world, but once he is in complains, as maybe he should have thought this out before he easily agreed to it.
I bring this up as the main point of the film is to unlock the beast within. Believe in yourself and that is where your power will come from.
Though appearing to try and be a satire of today's musical scene. For a film filled with music. There was very little music that catches the ear and that is by the female punk rock group and the acoustic nice guy band that gains a following.
I have come to understand that it is based on a popular Japanese manga. Which might explain why the film constantly feels so cartoonish.
While also shedding light on unsung heroes or major successes of whom inspired, but we're never major successes themselves. Though they never believe themselves Truly successful. Where someone is well respected bit has no respect for themselves and seems to use that frustration and anger as inspiration at times. That seems like Abuse, but gets him to move to the next level.
In that aspect I truly admired the film.
Which left off with these quotable words of wisdom.
A hero has a mission to give people the power to dream. Also inspire people the right to dream.
It's true life is harsh and not everyone will be able to fulfill their dreams.
But every single person is free to dream all they want.
Dreams are amazing,
A dream can supply courage and the power to move forward in the depths of disappointment.
A dream can shine a light in your heart. No matter what they look like or how you say it.
If you help someone dream and help it come true. You're amazing.
This all comes spelled out specifically in the third act. With much more supposedly symbolic comedy. As a romantic subplot mainly takes up he second one.