T500FC, 470th: Detroit Metal City (Toshio Lee, 2008)


The creators of Detroit Metal City could’ve been drugged and drunk at the same time when they gave the life of this crazy idea. This film originally came from Manga where it was such a hit and that’s why the film version was created prior to its OVA’s that could’ve gained attention too. If you want to watch a modern-day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, then this film would suit you well. Amidst the language barrier, subtitles provided by the film are still a must as lost in translation’s nowhere to be found.

The film’s main theme is the idea of “No Music, No Life”. A film filled with music running from its crazy lyrics of raping his mother to the sweetness of a person, akin to puking for its sweetness. This is that kind of film where most of the time, the characters are singing. This time, we are introduced to heavy metal; the closest to this idea is Jack Black’s Tenacious D: Pick of Destiny, and something that is really sweet, probably like any of those films in the forties and fifties that provides sweet songs, like the Sound of Music’s ‘I Am Sixteen’ song.

The movie, with a lot of induced silliness on the side, is about an aspiring musician, who goes urban and finds himself in a life of music. Scene jumps to the present and we are now informed that our protagonist is a member of a death metal band, hence the name Detroit Metal City. With more craziness that follows, the viewer is told that this same person is a lame duck in real life; much more when what he wants with the music he is performing greatly opposes of what he really wants in life. The group gains popularity and their lives progress to a different level, to be the best death metal band in the country.

I really find this film impressive. The moment the protagonist was introduced, the person’s almost gay character was greatly portrayed and what was weird was; it did not come out as cheap, overacting even. Ergo, it showed its manga-type style and was able to follow it even if it was just on the initial scenes. Also, the main character’s leapt from one character to another was definitely adorable in a certain level and he was able to catch the personalities of both, with the other, having make-up and wig, helped him.

There are times when you see someone who is naïve and unattractive, you’d probably find the love in him and his character. What this film provided is the adorability of the main protagonist, and I’d like to give props to our director, Toshio Lee, who was able to maneuver such great task on a seemingly easy film. Scenes were effective from the starting credits, to the characters, to the songs used, and even the final battle.

Even if I just saw this right now, this film looks a little bit like Scott Pilgrim Vs The World minus of course the crazy lyrics by the band. I’d like to see more of this, even if I have to watch it all over again courtesy of the OVA’s or even the manga version. A definitely enjoying film, you just have to close your eyes during the singing of the band, as their lyrics might offend you, or not.


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