Stunt Rock

A faux documentary about real life Australian stuntman Grant Paige, STUNT ROCK garnered considerable attention in cult film circles earlier this year when a trailer for it appeared on the TRAILER TRASH vol. 1. And, truth be told, the trailer is merely a glimpse of the insanity that dares to combine the reckless and the rocking.

Grant Page (renowned stunt coordinator, probably best know for MAD MAX) packs up his bags and heads to L.A. to visit his “brother,” a performer in the heavy metal outfit Sorcery. When his first stunt goes awry in Hollywood, Page attracts the interest of a blonde reporter who is determined to find out what makes this crazy stuntmen tick. Page is more than happy to show her the expressions of his unique knack, all the while making sure to catch a few Sorcery gigs. Yup, that is the plot of STUNT ROCK. But who needs plot when you have stunts! And rock! Filmed in both Australia and Hollywood, STUNT ROCK is a true oddity of cinema. The stunt work is pretty daring, featuring some real fist clenching scenes. Page, a dead ringer for Richard Norton, performs a myriad of dangerous stunts, mostly just to say that he had done them (just performing stunts was cool back then). He flies planes, jumps from cars, drives a dune buggy and dangles over cliffs and high rises alike. A stunt gone wrong from MAD DOG MORGAN is highlighted to show how dedicated Page is to his art (he was severely burned but made it back to the set a few days later). “Art?” asks the naïve reporter to which Grant replies, “Ah! You’ve never seen GONE IN 60 SECONDS?” Yes, to solidify the idea of stunts as art, the production even includes several of the amazing (and groundbreaking) car chases from the original GONE IN 60 SECONDS.

To counter the outlandish nature of the stunt work, the production features several over the top numbers by the heavy metal outfit Sorcery. In addition to their music, Sorcery presents an elaborate on stage show featuring theatrics that put 70s rivals KISS to shame. The narrative of their show is a battle between good and evil, essayed in a number of magic performances featuring Merlin combating the Devil onstage as the band sings. Given the amount of pyrotechnics used, I guess they qualify as stunts too. The two diverse worlds of stunt and rock finally coincide when Page joins the band on stage for a fire stunt and then Sorcery dedicates a song to Page entitled “Stunt Rocker.” Exactly who this combination of music and mayhem was aimed at has never been determined. But in both cases the events captured on film are truly something that astounds. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith is no stranger to the world of stunts, having previously helmed the similar Page vehicle DEATH CHEATERS (1976) and the stunt laced Jimmy Wang Yu film THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975).