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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 12/03/1998,

Hard Core Logo

Punk's not dead, but it's got one foot in the grave as director Bruce McDonald -- playing himself -- hooks up with the members of the fictitious, long-running Vancouver hardcore band of the title in this vapid, derivative, dull mockumentary. We join McDonald's McPunks in '93, five years after their mohawked, misanthropic, blow-snorting singer Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon, playing a cross between Bill Murray and Lee Ving) squashed what might've been a shot at the big time by pissing in a record exec's beer mug. Dick brings the lads back together for a gig to benefit the band's obscure, reclusive mentor, who's supposed to have had his legs shot off; when the show proves lucrative, they set off on a brief reunion tour -- where road-trip clichés hungrily await.

There are predictable intra-band tensions with even more predictable results: guitarist Billy Tallent (Callum Keith) has an offer to join Jennifur, a successful alterna-rock band whose members' faces grace the cover of SPIN; bassist John Oxenberger (John Pyper-Ferguson, doing his best Derrick Smalls impersonation) is a schizophrenic, philosophical tour diarist who's misplaced his meds; and the aging Dick is desperate for one last crack at rock-and-roll redemption. All that's left for McDonald to do with this disastrous plot is let it unravel -- which it does with a bit of Spinal Tap, a bit of Sid and Nancy, and a gratuitous acid sequence reminiscent of The Doors -- on its way to the inevitable punch line, which isn't very funny at all. The music (mostly fictitious) is surprisingly adequate -- more '77 than '88, if you're into that sorta thing.

-- Carly Carioli