Rock-loving teens and aspiring musicians Hawk (Edward Furlong), Lex (Giuseppe Andrews), Trip (James DeBello) and Jam (Sam Huntington) can't wait to see their favorite band, KISS, perform at an upcoming concert. However, when Jam's pious mother (Lin Shaye) finds the tickets to the event, she incinerates them, leaving the boys desperate for a way to see the show. In their attempts to see KISS, the lads endure misunderstandings, humiliation and violence, all just to see their beloved idols.
Over the years, we have seen a wide variety of coming-of-age stories on film, but nothing quite like 'Detroit Rock City'. While this film has all the aspects of a true coming-of-age film, it also has a ton of very adult situations, which ultimately made this film rated R. We've seen a group of kids find rich stuff, look for a dead body, build a tree house, and even shoot a homemade movie based on 'Rambo'.
It wasn't until 'Detroit Rock City' in 1999, where we had a group of four burnout teenagers literally do whatever it took to score KISS tickets, which included stripping, robbing a store, fighting, and even drugging a preacher with magic mushroom pizza. While this movie didn't do to well at the box office, it became a huge cult hit on home video and continues to garner laughs and flaunt a spectacular soundtrack some 16 years later.
'Detroit Rock City' centers on a teenager named Jeremiah or "Jam" for short, whose single mother (Lin Shaye) rules over the household with a God fearing iron fist. She makes him tuck his button down shirts into his khaki pants for school and would never allow him to listen to anything more dangerous than The Carpenters. Little does Jam's mother know that he secretly loves rock n' roll, especially KISS, and is in fact a drummer in a KISS cover band with his three friends Hawk (Edward Furlong) , Lex (Giuseppe Andrews) , and Trip (James DeBello).
These friends are not necessarily the friends you would bring home for a family night dinner, as they are always stoned, dirty, and destructive. That being said, they are true and loyal friends to the end, which is what this film is all about. Jam has four tickets for him and his friends for the KISS concert that night, but unfortunately his mother finds them and burns them up in front of everyone. This causes all four friends to ditch school and try to score KISS tickets by anyway possible, but due to their lack of intelligence, it proves more difficult that it really should be.
Whether it be fighting off disco douchebags, saving a girl from two rapists, winning money in a strip contest, even outrunning a fat Elvis security guard, or having sex for the first time in a sacred place, these four friends will stop at nothing to see KISS and protect their friendship to the end. The movie is completely silly and has some very gross out moments, including two gallons of puke and one hell of a bloody fight in the street. That being said, 'Detroit Rock City' is as genuine as it is funny, and even though these kids might not be the brightest in the bunch, they would be friends I'd like to have.
It's so exciting that all four members of KISS signed off on this movie. Not even that, each member had a ton of creative input that went into this production as well as cameos. Speaking of cameos, there are a ton of them here, including Shannon Tweed, Ron Jeremy, Joe Flaherty, Natasha Lyonne, and Melanie Lynskey to name a few. Everyone does a great job in their roles here, and seems to have an amazing time on screen, no matter how over-the-top it can get. 'Detroit Rock City' is one of those films that is always welcome on my television at home, because it's highly entertaining, hilariously funny, and has an excellent soundtrack.
'Detroit Rock City' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. For a movie that came out 16 years ago, but was made to look like it was shot in the 1970s, this new transfer looks surprisingly good. The image has been upgraded to show great detail. Closeups reveal every small detail including each wave of denim, every oily piece of hair, and teenage makeup blemish very well. The wider shots also show off some great detail as well, giving the image quite a bit of depth.
There is a fine layer of grain over the picture too, allowing that filmic quality have center stage, instead of having the new age digital look. Black levels are always deep and inky throughout and the skin tones are always natural. Colors simply pop off screen too, and stay true to the warm colors of the late 1970s. Each color is well balanced and saturated with zero muted or fuzzy colors coming through. There were no instances of any banding, aliasing, or any other problem with this image, earning it high marks.
This release has an excellent lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and couldn't sound better if it tried. For being a comedy full of adventure and rock music, the sound is fantastic on all levels. This is not a big action movie by any means, but you wouldn't know that, judging by the sound, as each speaker and subwoofer is turned to 11 here. The real heart and soul of the audio track is of course the music. Everything from KISS and AC/DC to disco and The Carpenters sounds excellent. It's as if you're playing a high quality concert Blu-ray here. Each sound is rich and full throughout.
The sound effects are lively as well and have great directionality whether it be in a fight or a crowded bar. Each ambient noise and sound effect is layered with precision and given a chance to shine without being overly loud. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow throughout and free of any pops, cracks, shrills, and hiss. The bass has a nice rumble to it as well. The LFE is excellent here and the dynamic range is very wide. I just wish there was an option to listen to the music solely here, because it has some amazing tunes. This audio presentation will make you proud.
Audio Commentary #1 - The first commentary track is with director Adam Rifkin, where he discusses almost all aspects of filming. He talks about how the script came to be, casting, filming with all of the KISS music, and more. It's definitely worth listening to.
Audio Commentary #2 - The second commentary track is will the cast and some of the crew of the film. This is a lot of fun as each actor tells us a ton of fun stories from the set, along with pointing out some easter eggs found in the film.
Audio Commentary #3 - The third commentary track is with all four original members of KISS, as they discuss their influence and history of the film and their music. If you're a fan of the movie and KISS, you'll love this track.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 19 Mins.) - There are six deleted scenes total here along with a couple of alternated angle scenes, all of which are worth watching.
The Cutting Room Floor (SD, 33 Mins.) - Here are a few different camera angles of KISS playing a few songs on stage along with a basic lesson in guitar chords for a big KISS song.
Look Into The Sun (SD, 8 Mins.) - This is a fun and weird look at how one of the scenes was filmed as well as the actors lounging in their trailers.
Miscellaneous Shit (SD, 37 Mins.) - This is a three-part extra that features interviews and a behind the scenes look at the making of the film. The first part features the producers of the film as they discuss how the director and KISS became involved with the project. The second part features the director himself and discusses the film and long conversations with himself and KISS frontman Gene Simmons as they ran through the script and movie. The third segment has some behind the scenes footage along with some fun interviews with the actors.
Music Videos (SD, 8 Mins.) - Everclear and The Donnas have music videos here from the film.
Trailer (SD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
'Detroit Rock City' still holds up after 16 years and delivers the treasure trove of laughs, good music, and gross out moments. It's still one of the finer coming-of-age films to this day and I love watching it over and over for a good time. The video and audio presentations are both excellent here too. Even though there are no new extras, all the features that were ported over from the DVD release all those years ago are excellent. Highly Recommended!