In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Cast: Kenichi Matsuyama, Rosa Kato, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Gene Simmons, Ryo Kato, Minami, Yoshiko Miyazaki
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Released By: Encore Films & Golden Village
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language)
Official Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/dmc
Opening Day: 19 March 2009
Souichi Negishi (Kenichi Matsuyama) is a conservative and pure-minded boy. He leaves his countryside home to go to Tokyo with a dream of becoming a fancy pop singer. In a twist of fate, he is forced to debut as a member of the satanic Death Metal band "Detroit Metal City" (DMC), whose trademark is an eccentric make-up and destructive performance. Despite the intention of becoming a pop celebrity, he makes a triumphant debut as the Death Metal vocalist and the story hilariously describes the array of his woes until he finally faces off against the legendary and world-renowned Death Metal vocalist "Jack IL Dark" on the stage!
Detroit Metal City got one enticing trailer. It’s funny, lively and intriguing to watch the Kenichi Matsuyama transforms himself into another different character from his well known “L” persona in Deathnote (well two vastly different characters to be exact). However anticipation often ends up in disappointment and Detroit Metal City was that failed to live up to it’s hype.
The main problem with Detroit Metal City is that it felt like an extended version of the trailer. All the good parts in the trailer basically get recycled and repeated without any progress in the characters for most part of the movie. The foul mouthed boss from hell basically repeats her acts of terror on the nice timid protagonist over n over again. Although it was fun initially, it got quite boring after a while as there’s are no much progression in the first 3 quarters of the movie. There are no mentioning of how did the chain smoking boss got the awkward sissy protagonist to sign the contract with her and how did she bind him to work for her like the devil that gotten the soul of a victim. There could be humor in that area but Detroit Metal City just chose to focus on her constant yelling and torturing of her death metal band in order to amp up the comedic effect.
The transformation of sissy effeminate “trendy” singer wannabe Souichi Negishi (Kenichi Matsuyama) into Johannes Krauser II, the Death Metal maestro wasn’t very well explored. On the trailer, it looked pretty awesome but when it was played out in the movie, it felt very one dimension cardboard rendition of both characters. Negishi constantly whining about being forced to play Johannese Krauser II and his Krauser II persona doing the same “Death metal” attitude that it never really explore how did Negishi got the talent to popularize the Johannese Krauser II character (except the tiny weeny bit when he got rejected by a trendy producer). It got rather irritating after watching Negishi and Krauser II repeat their acts for the umpteen times without any actual insights to their respective persona.
Even the comedic sets up here are flawed. For example, there was a comedic play that involves Negishi doing the constant identities swap routine. This is not a new type of humor and has been done quite often in the world of comedy. What this film neglected to do was to give Negishi a valid reason to be stuck in such predicament that requires him to do the constant identities swap. The film tried to play it up that the reason was Negishi had a chance encounter with his crush from school days and was desperately trying to stay in touch with her after losing contact with her since school days. If the setting of the film was back in the 80s or when hand phone and pagers were not common yet, it would make much sense to play out that kind identities swap routine. It was very hard to get into the comedic groove when the constant identities swap and other comedic elements felt forced upon the audiences.
It’s not that I am trying to look for logic or substance in a comedy such as Detroit Metal City but it’s the fundamental set ups for comedy that were blatantly neglected here. The film seems contented to bank on that one type of appeal that the trailer had presented and forgets about giving the movie the necessary foundation and linkage. A comedy needs all this setups and linkages to make it a truly memorable comedy.
That’s not to say that Detroit Metal City isn’t without it moments. There were enjoyable comedic moments when Krauser II was forced to crash a rival’s concert in the most unexpected way. The story also finally progressed a little bit at the last quarter of this movie and the show down between Krauser II and Jack ill Dark (by the legendary KISS front man, Gene Simmons) had a couple of the funniest scenes in this movie. It just that it’s quite few compared to the bulk of this movie.
it didn't appeal to me, the female audiences in the preview
seemly think otherwise with their constant laughter through
out the movie. In a way, this movie felt like it's constructed
and marketed to the very same audience that couldn't get enough
of those boy bands songs (ie mainly for the ladies and teenagers
demographic). It has that one hook with the mass appeal ring
to it but it never really go in-depth with it's comedic flair
or the material at hand (such as what is Death Metal all about).
(As appealing as a boy band’s song but has a
hollow ring to it too)
Review by Richard Lim Jr