Detroit Metal City

Those who do not see this movie will join the ranks of "Detroit Metal City refugees." That was the title given to anyone who did not get a copy of the popular manga series upon which the film is based and its big screen adaptation is proving to be just as popular.

Soichi Negishi (Ken'ichi Matsuyama) was a sweet, gentle boy who went to university in the big city in hopes of becoming a "serious yet trendy pop star." But his dream is turned into a nightmare when he is roped into being frontman Johannes Krauser II in the death metal band Detroit Metal City (DMC). When DMC defeats rival bands and becomes one of Japan’s top acts, the band is challenged to a death metal-duel by icon Jack IL Dark (KISS’ Gene Simmons). To make matters worse, his college crush (Rosa Kato) pops back into his life and he must keep his stage personality a secret in order to win her trendy heart.

Matsuyama's portrayal of the two very different personalities is more than successfully located at either ends of a hilarious spectrum. Negishi is a nerdy wimp that runs with his knees pinned together, giggles like a girl, and arrives in Tokyo to a montage reminiscent of That Girl’s. He writes cheesy, sugary love ballads to which you bounce and sway. Krauser is said to be a drug-gobbling demon from hell. He resembles a scarier looking member of KISS in a cape, tights and makeup, that curses and screams on stage about rape and murder. Both characters are ridiculous and even funnier when they blend.

The supporting characters are also really entertaining. DMC's boss, (Yasuko Matsuyuki), is rooted in death metal, uses physical violence as a mode of persuasion and measures the quality of music by how wet it makes her "down there." The band's bassist (Yoshihiko Hosoda) is a gyrating fool and the drummer (Ryûji Akiyama) is a quiet brooder who likes the word "bloomers." The headbanging groupies also provide amusing commentary throughout.

It always comes down to how to market a film, but with the right angle this flick could be an international success. The humour carries over and we're always looking for new reasons to laugh beyond the tired old jokes. Just, please, no dubbing.

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