(Warner - 2002)

I though I was dreaming when I came across this - a film about eighties heavy metal - and although it does relate to real-life happenings (the career path of current Judas Priest singer Ripper Owens) it's a rock n' roll movie made in heaven.
PLOT - Young office mechanic, Chris Cole fronts Blood Pollution, a tribute covers band to his heroes, popular British metal band Steel Dragon. When a punch up with lead guitarist Rob over his wilfully erratic soloing results in Chris being booted out, he learns that Steel Dragon singer Bobby Beers has also just been shown the door.

One morning, Chris is awoken from his sleep by Dragon guitarist Kirk Cuddy and is gobsmacked to find he's been observed in performance with his former covers act and is awaited for auditions in their LA studio. Chris tries his hand and is offered the job on the spot. He settles in immediately as a respected fully fledged member of the band and the world looks like his oyster.

The pear shape starts to form however, when his girlfriend Emily tells him she's relocating to Seattle because of a new job as a waitress, and when Chris arrives at the studio to start working on the new album, he's informed by Kirk, very much to his chagrin, that no song-writing services are required of him, just singing what they've written. Chris feels a bit disappointed at this having taken the time write so much material but reluctantly lays down the vocal tracks as penned by his bandmates.

As the next tour kicks off, Chris still seems up for it, as the man born to rock that he was, as he takes to the stage every night…. but is he. The vocal participations from that chap down the front there could help Chris Cole find his way out, back into the world he once knew.

A fantastic flick, in both direction and acting with brilliant cast including Brits Dominic West, Jason Fleming (Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels) and Timothy Spall as Dragon's roadie. Jason Bonham (Bonham) Jeff Pilson (Dokken) and Zakk Wilde (Black Label Society, Ozzy) are worth watching for their parts as the other three fifths of Dragon alongside West's show-stealing performance as their charismatic cockney guitarist Kirk Uddy. Slaughter's Blas Elias can also be seen -he's the drummer in Chris's covers band.

Tack this to endlessly entertaining script and scorching soundtrack and you have a film, no metal fan worth his beans should miss.


By Dave Attrill