Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Anniston, Timothy Spall, Dominic West
Director: Stephen Herek
Every young man’s dream becomes Mark Wahlberg’s reality in Stephen Herek’s “Rock Star”. Get out the hairspray and spandex, we’re set back in the mid-eighties, when hard-rock meant bands like Motley Crue, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.
Chris Cole (Wahlberg – “Three Kings”, “Planet of the Apes”, “Perfect Storm”, “The Big Hit”, “Fear”), die hard fan of rock legends Steel Dragon, also performs as the lead singer of the top Dragon tribute band, Blood Pollution. Popular on the local circuit and acknowledged as a performer with genuine talent, Cole is axed from the group after his bandmates grow tired of his obsession with Steel Dragon and his reluctance to write and play his own material.
His life takes a dramatic about turn when Steel Dragon lead singer Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng – “Snatch”, “Deep Rising”) is kicked out of the band and Cole is invited to replace him. Cole manages to live out his fantasy as he integrates himself successfully into the band and is accepted by the fans as an able replacement for their hero, Bobby.
But the trappings of rock and roll stardom start to take their toll on Cole and his long-term girlfriend, Emily (Anniston – TVs “Friends”). The fairly clean-living Cole gets dragged into the much-talked about ?sex, drugs & rock and roll’ lifestyle that is almost mythological to those on the outside looking in. A life of uncontrollable decadence starts to consume the pair, and it drives them apart before long. That’s when Cole realises that despite having the only thing he ever wanted, it’s not enough.
Director Herek (“Holy Man”, “Mr Hollands Opus”, Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure”, “Three Musketeers”) does not pursue any groundbreaking avenues to gain results in “Rock Star”. The story is as straight-forward as you can get – young man has a dream; young man handed dream; young man realises that dream was not all it was cracked up to be. His journey from zero to hero helps him to find his own identity and discover all the things that really were important to him, but his blind obsession with Steel Dragon did not allow him to see.
Wahlberg pulls off another fine performance (check out “The Big Hit”, “Boogie Nights”). With his rock-star wig, he manages to look like a young Ozzy Osbourne. No doubt his Marky Mark past has helped him hone the rockstar traits (a sort of cross between Axl Rose and Osbourne is how he plays out) and although Herek does overdose on the heavy-metal performances (which do become tedious eventually), Wahlberg keeps it as fresh as possible with his charismatic stage antics. Jennifer Anniston puts in a career best performance as childhood sweetheart Emily, and Timothy Spall (“Vanilla Sky”, “Secrets and Lies”, “Hamlet”, “Life is Sweet”) is strangely likable as the bad-boy, but good-guy, road manager Mats.
The soundtrack might not be to a lot of peoples liking. Steel Dragon actually comprised of veterans like Jason Bonham (son of Led Zep stickman, John), Zakk Wylde and Jeff Scott Soto (former Yngwie Malmsteen lead singer). The originals they perform in the movie were written especially – they’re not great. Elsewhere, we get INXS, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Def Leppard (the very cool ?Lets Get Rocked’), Ted Nugent, Motley Crue and Kiss. if you’re into rock music, it’s a killer soundtrack.
“Rock Star” doesn’t break any moulds, but it won’t disappoint too much either. .