Stunt Rock (1980)

Daredevil Grant Page is asked to come to Los Angeles to do stunt work in a crime drama featuring Dutch actress Monique van de Ven. While there, he gets in contact with a cousin who plays the Prince of Darkness (Curtis Hyde) as part of a theatrical heavy metal band called Sorcery. Along the way he meets a journalist assigned to cover him (Margaret Gerard).

The journalist quickly develops a crush on Page, and is thrilled with her introduction to both the stuntman and rock and roll lifestyles. Meanwhile, van de Ven just wishes to be able to do her own stunts on the show, something here agent (Don Blackburn) constantly tries to thwart. In the end, she finally gets her wish, and Page performs one night with the band. In between we get to see a number of his stunts, including some from previous movies in which he worked with director Brian Trenchard-Smith.

A lot of people like this movie, and I can understand the reason why. Rock and roll and stunts. What could be better? Well, a better band, for starters. Originally Van Halen had been tapped for the role, and I could just imagine how much better the movie would have been with a 1979-era Van Halen soundtrack. As it is, Sorcery could almost have been the source material for Spinal Tap. While some of the theatrics are entertaining enough, listening to lyrics like "Number of the beast / Prepare for Satan's feast" make the music critic in me just want to bang my head - and I mean against something solid, not in the way the band would like me to. Even worse is when Gerard is introduced to them, doing a God-awful song called "Woman", going through all the moves they would for a live performance in the studio. Sure, I guess showing them working on overdubbing would have been boring, but it just took me right out of the film.

The other problem is that there are not enough stunts. I could put up with the band performances if there had just been a bit more of Page doing his thing. A good portion of the stunts are from other films he did previous to this. The new ones - the cliff dive and the high wire walk, for instance - are amazing. I guess I was expecting something more along the line of Gone in 60 Seconds, which this film references and even includes a scene from.

Brian Trenchard-Smith has said he thinks this is his worst film he has made. Well, I've looked at some of his filmography, and I would say that would probably go to some of the Christian propaganda films later in his career, but I just can't bring myself to enjoy this like some would. Between Gerard's acting and Sorcery's horrible music, it would be impossible to sit through without Page. And, even though he says he's a terrible actor, his easy-going attitude and love of his craft allow him to stand out above anyone else here.

Stunt Rock (1980)
Duration: 90 minutes
Starring: Grant Page, Monique van de Ven, Margaret Gerard, Sorcery
Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

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