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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style
Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style
Music Video Distributors // Unrated // August 14, 2001
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted October 22, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
At this point, so many "history of punk" documentaries have been released that there is nothing really left to say without radical revamping of the format. If you only watch one documentary on West Coast punk, it might as well be Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style. Although it lacks the grit of earlier shot-on-film docos like D.O.A., the years have given those interviewed a bit of extra perspective (well, some of them anyway). Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Keith Morris (Circle Jerks, Black Flag) sound like the punk elder statesmen that they are, but Jack Grisham (TSOL) sounds like a kid grown up, still laughing about all the stuff he stole and pranks he pulled in the old days. Duane Peters (US Bombs) is as grizzled as they come, cursing the ground Gwen Stefani walks on. A decent amount of music is included but really that's what makes this stuff unique. There are only so many times you can watch these guys rehash their youthful exploits. Of the three major punk movements West Coast seems most like the bratty kid brother, with the UK providing the politics of the Sex Pistols and the Clash and New York producing the artistic noise of Patti Smith and the Ramones. So, other than reliving old glories and hypothesizing on old skateboarding injuries, these West Coasties have less to say than their more eastern cousins.

VIDEO:
Rage is presented full-screen. The video footage looks fine. Archival footage is of varying degrees of quality.

AUDIO:
Again, the interviews are fine and the music varies depending on the source. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

EXTRAS:
A few extra audio and video tracks are included, as is an interview with the directors, who come off as pretty shallow. They don't really articulate how what they were trying to do is different from any other similar film and they talk at length about how the punk bands they love never achieved any success or fame. I don't know what planet they're living on. Bands like the Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, and Black Flag are legends.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Overall Rage only scratches the surface of its subject. It can't begin to compete with the Sex Pistols film The Filth and the Fury for kinetic energy, historical scope, or statement of purpose (not to mention that the DVD of The Filth and the Fury also includes the short documentary Un-Defining Punk, which features many of the same West Coasties as Rage). Fans of the artists interviewed will enjoy but the casual viewer will do well to start with the music itself.

E-mail Gil at buskerdog@yahoo.com
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