Detroit Rock City - Movie Review

  • 01 November 2005

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Twenty years before Marilyn Manson put on ladies' makeup and frightened the crap out of mothers around the nation, a little band called KISS pioneered the idea, and played some good music as a bonus.

While KISS was a few years before my rock & roll prime, they were still quite popular when I was in school, and tales/rumors of Gene Simmons' cow tongue, blood splitting, backwards-masked lyrics, and the infamous "Knights In Satan's Service" moniker were the stuff of legend.

Director Adam Rifkin would love to rekindle the KISS flame that we all remember so well, but the movie doesn't quite live up to the standards set by coming of age/adventure flicks like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

You gotta give them points for originality, though. Following four Cleveland kids and their desperate quest to reach Detroit in time for the big KISS show, Rifkin (whose only recognizable credit is the Charlie Sheen bomb The Chase) takes a few fun and unexpected turns in an otherwise rote story that provide some great laughs.

But really, this is an unabashed movie about KISS fans, for KISS fans. There's nothing wrong with that, but let me just say that watching a film in a theater packed with aging hard rockers trying to regain their youth through the cinema is one of the more trying experiences a critic can go through.

It's nice to see Furlong and Heavenly Creatures' Melanie Lynskey back on the big screen, but they've both done far better material before. Let's hope to see some more of that again soon.

They wanna rock and roll all night...

Image caption Detroit Rock City

Facts and Figures

Year: 1999

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th August 1999

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Reviews 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Adam Rifkin

Producer: Gene Simmons, Barry Levine, Kathleen Haase

Screenwriter: Carl V. Dupre

Starring: Giuseppe Andrews as Lex, James DeBello as Trip Hurudie, Edward Furlong as Hawk, Sam Huntington as Jeremiah 'Jam' Bruce, Lin Shaye as Mrs. Bruce, Melanie Lynskey as Beth Bumsteen, Natasha Lyonne as Christine, Miles Dougal as Elvis, Nick Scotti as Kenny, Emmanuelle Chriqui as Barbara, David Quane as Bobby, Rodger Barton as Mr. Stewart Bumsteen, Kathryn Haggis as Mrs. Stewart Bumsteen, David Gardner as Detroit Priest, Shannon Tweed as Amanda Finch, Kristin Booth as Cashier, Joe Flaherty as Father Phillip McNulty, Cody Jones as Little Kid, as Chongo, Joan Heney as Study Hall Teacher

Also starring: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Barry Levine, Kathleen Haase