miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2009

Detroit Metal City

Based on the anime with the same name, Soichi (Ken'ichi Matsuyama of the Death Note films) is a young, happy musician who loves Swedish pop (aka Abba) and is determined to make it as a pop star in Tokyo. So he leaves his country origins and heads for the big city, where he struggles to make a living as a street musician, where only pretty young Yuri (Rosa Kato) seems to love his music. In a desperate move, he creates an alter ego, Johannes Krauser II and joins the death metal (although it’s more speed metal than death) band Detroit Metal City. Sadly, Soichi hates metal and everything it stands for, and it only brings him all sorts of problems, from the growing popularity of DMC to a nymphomaniac, near-psychotic Death Records President, and the fact that the woman he loves hates metal as well. Add to that the upcoming battle of the bands with the American metal icon JACK (Gene Simmons) and you got yourself somebody on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
A lot of people had told me how weird this movie was, and when I finally saw it, I had to disagree. Yes, there is a lot of over-the-top humor and it’s hilarious. A lot of the humor comes from the actors themselves. I never imagined Ken’ichi Matsuyama would be so good in doing physical comedy, but he’s truly excellent, and his transformations between the Soichi and Johannes character come off very genuine, really looking like completely different people. When he’s raped by the Death Records President (pretty rare seeing a woman rape a man on a Japanese film, or any film for that matter), his mind unhinges and every time he’s upset, he turns into the Johannes character and goes into full metal mode. The most hilarious of these breakdowns comes when he’s in a park trying to chase Yuri and a male admirer, and with the help of fans dressed as Power Rangers, is able to get close to her. And speaking of the Death Records President, Yasuko Matsuyuki is incredible in the role. She’s just as insane as in the anime, only being live action it’s taken to a whole new level. Just like in the anime, she is feared by the members of the band but also lusted after, and here she’s pretty damn hot. Although her craziness is kind of a turn off for me, personally. Craziness is good and all, but when someone throws a cigar to your face, that’s just crossing the line, then again, I can understand why they’re all so afraid. Even the fans of the band are crazy. They are like walking cartoons of what metal fans really are, and it’s hilarious.But even with all it’s craziness, this movie has a lot of heart. It follows a very strict three-act structure and does so very well. The best scenes came when Soichi returns to his home, suffering from an inner conflict between his love for pop music and playing death metal. Here comes the most important sequence in the film, where Soichi reads fan letters and realizes that he’s making more of a difference, giving happiness and changing people’s hearts with the metal music than he ever could with pop. It’s a very poignant moment, and takes this film above the typical crazy metal movie stereotype. The Yuri character is also interesting, since along with Soichi’s mother, is the only character that is realistic, and it brings a lot of the heart I was talking about. But yes, this movie is a total package: it’s a great comedy with a lot of good emotional scenes, a perfect script, perfectly acted and just incredible in every level. I have a new film that has entered my top 10 of all time, and it’s Detroit Metal City.By the way, look out for Gene Simmons as JACK and his evil satanic bull.

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