• Heavy Trip (Music Box Selects) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Music Box Selects
    Released on: April 22nd, 2021.
    Director: Jukka Vidgren, Juuso Laatio
    Cast: Johannes Holopainen, Samuli Jaskio, Antti Heikkinen, Max Ovaska, Minka Kuustonen, Ville Tiihonen
    Year: 2018
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    Heavy Trip – Movie Review:

    Directed by Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio, Heavy Trip, a 2018 film from Finland, introduces us to twenty-five-year-old Turo Moilanen (Johannes Holopainen), a metalhead who lives in a small Finnish village where, when he’s not riding his bicycle around and enjoying the scenery, is being picked on by the narrow-minded local men for having long hair. There isn’t much to do in Turo’s town. It’s pretty, sure, but he and his friends - and Pasi (Max Ovaska) - want more and to get it, they’ve started an evil and, of course, very extreme black metal band.

    When the members of the band are called upon by the man who promotes neighboring Norway’s largest metal festival, they realize this is the one shot that a lot of bands of their smaller status never get... and so they decide to take it. But before they can do that, they need to practice and come up with a name. Before you know it, they’re playing a couple of smaller, local shows to get the ball rolling and performing under the name Impaled Rektum – and go on to describe themselves as “symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal.” When it comes time to head to Norway, they decide to make the biggest splash that they can, stealing a van and a corpse, springing a guy out of an insane asylum to play drums for them and avoiding the cops all in an attempt to get to Norway and put on the best show possible, possibly setting off a war between Finland and Norway as they do so.

    It probably goes without saying that those with a familiarity and definitely with an affinity with the Scandinavian and European extreme metal scenes are get more out of this than those who aren’t necessarily into that type of music. But there’s enough here that works outside of the nods to various bands and metal-insider jokes that the masses should be able to appreciate the movie for what it is. Anyone who has ever struggled with an attempt to ‘make it’ or wanted to follow their dream(s) is going to see a lot of themselves in the four main characters, Turo in particular, and at risk of sounding corny, the movie has a surprising amount of heart.

    The four leads are really good here. We have no problem whatsoever believing them as actual Finnish metalheads, the very much look the part and, having never been to Finland myself, presumably act it as well. What matters is that they’re good here. The writing is good enough to ensure that we like these characters and while the movie at its core is very much your typical underdog story (complete with an unnecessary romantic subplot), the filmmakers put enough absurdist elements and appropriately nutty scenarios into the picture that is pretty consistently funny throughout. Not every joke or gag works, but the vast majority of them do, and the movie has a much higher hit to mass ratio than most comedies, foreign or otherwise.

    Heavy Trip – Blu-ray Review:

    Heavy Trip comes to region free Blu-ray framed at 2.35.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc, with the feature taking up 23.8GBs of space. This was shot recently and digitally so there isn’t any print damage, dirt or grain to note, the image is pristine. Colors are reproduced really nicely (this is a much more colorful film than you might expect it to be!) and detail is generally pretty strong here, especially in close up shots. There are no problems with any compression artifacts and we get strong black levels as well as good depth and texture throughout.

    The only audio option is handled by a 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 track in the film’s native Finnish. Optional subtitles are offered in English and English SDH only and a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track, also in Finnish, is included here as well. The 5.1 track is really strong, spreading out into the rear channels often and bringing you into the movie, especially when the band plays. The track is clean and clear and nicely balanced, no issues here, it sounds very good.

    Extras start off with Heavy Trip Goes to Texas, a collection of seven short mini-episodes with Turo and Jouni where they basically roam around Texas and get a feel for it, interact with some locals, try to get a handle on local customs and pick up some ladies ("Your eyes are very beautiful, like a big horse!"). If you liked the feature, give this a watch, it's humorous in the same way.

    Real Heavy Metal Bands React to Impaled Rektum is a quick one-minute bit where members of Opeth, Huoroa, Mokoma and Lost Society discuss the band's greatness.

    Flooding Secretions is a two-minute original song by Impaled Rektum that is as ridiculous and extreme as you'd expect it to be. It's audio only though it plays out over a fun Queen parody photo.

    Jump Into My Net: Karaoke Version by Jouni Tulkku & The Star Mustaches is a pretty funny two-minute bit done to look like a vintage karaoke video complete with tape rolls, highlighted lyrics and amazing background visuals. This is really well done and looks like the real thing!

    The disc also includes six-minutes of bonus scenes and bloopers (the bit with the moose and the green screen stands out as does the coffin loading scene), a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    The disc also comes packaged with some very cool reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork on alternate sides.

    Heavy Trip - The Final Word:

    Heavy Trip is uneven at times but overall it’s a pretty funny movie. The cast are excellent across the board and the direction is generally quite strong, pacing the film nicely. Heavy metal junkies will get more out of this than those without an affinity for the devil’s music, but there’s enough relatable material here that you don’t have to be a headbanger to get a kick out of Heavy Trip. The Blu-ray looks and sounds very good and while the extras are light, they are funny. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Heavy Trip Blu-ray screen caps!