Thursday, April 22, 2010

Legends of Japanese Rock 'n' Roll Cinema: Rockers

Rockers (2003), directed by Takanori Jinnai, is something of a comedy rock 'n' roll drama. The film follows the not-so-fictional band Rockers from the depths of looserhood through their quick rise to fame, and then back again. Like many Asian comedies, this is film is full of hilarious slapstick gags and cinematic tongue in cheek. This time though, we are overloaded with rock 'n' roll cliches: band rivalries, burning guitars, greasy hairstyles, motorcycles, leather jackets, and even a little male eye-liner. The film is fast-paced, exciting, and full of great music.

Rockers takes its inspiration from the real life 80's Japanese punk band, The Rockers, one of the groups featured in the underground classic, Burst City. In a somewhat ironic twist of fate and time, director Jinnai was actually the lead singer of the original Rockers. After the completion of Burst City and the breakup of his band, Jinnai moved on to a celebrated acting career. Rockers (the film) was his directorial debut.

The movie version of the band however, is more fiction than reality. Jinnai dropped the definite article ("the"), juiced up the story quite a bit, and created an over the top, insanely energetic film. This film may be the the only case on record of an ex-rock star directing his own biopic.

While the plot of Rockers only reflects some elements of the real band, the original spirit of the music and lifestyle are there for us in full force.

[apologies for the poor quality of this youtube video]

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