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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Raised On The Sunset Strip (Blu-ray)
Raised On The Sunset Strip (Blu-ray)
Universal // Unrated // February 5, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $21.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted March 19, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

I remember when Guns N Roses first hit the music landscape and becoming an immediate (and huge) fan of their music, and the level of mystery surrounding their guitarist Slash was just as large. Dude played guitar underneath a top hat, behind sunglasses and with a wealth of black curly hair. Did he wear the hat and sunglasses when he was with groupies? Did he ever take either the sunglasses or hat off? Now that we're in the age of a kinder, gentler Slash, a documentary about the man tries to shed some light on him.

Raised on the Sunset Strip was a film produced by Guitar Center and originally aired on DIRECTV and attempts to recount the life of Slash with interviews with him, along with bandmates like Steven Adler, Duff McKagan and Matt Corum. Peers like the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Aerosmith's Joe Perry talk about his work and personality, and friends of the man share their own personal anecdotes about him. Born Saul Hudson to a mother who was a costume designer for musicians and to a dad who would create album covers for bands, he grew up in Los Angeles after spending the first half dozen years of his life in London. His adeptness for guitar even at an early age got him into bands early on before joining GNR at age 20, and the rest as they say, became history.

Raised on the Sunset Strip does a good job of touching base on the requisite mile markers on Slash's life, though there are a couple of questionable decisions that seem to be made during the storytelling. The first is a slight skirting around the whitest light in Slash's musical lamp, that being the GNR time. Sure, Corum, McKagan and Adler are all here, but their recollections are more about Slash as a friend than as a performer. The film's approach to talking about Slash in personable terms then going through the requisite memorable moments in his career may be unpleasant, but sure, however they want to do it.

Then the second problem. Slash was turning 50 around the time that this film saw the light, and while there are obligatory moments of nostalgia (Grohl has a funny story about how he and Slash were playing a Rolling Stones song at a fundraiser for the school that both of their children attend), Raised on the Sunset Strip does not dive too deeply into one area. At barely more than an hour long, the film feels like something MTV would do, as opposed to something moderately memorable. So they avoid one way to tell Slash's life to tell another, then don't do that good of a job telling the other? Oof.

Raised on the Sunset Strip is an admirable attempt to tell the life of Slash, but tells things more about Saul Hudson at times, and you're left wondering what the film wants to accomplish. It's an attempt, but it feels like a first attempt. If someone tried again, I'd bet there is a better story and film there for those of us who still wonder about that guitarist with the top hat.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is fine, mixing the older footage with newer interviews nicely. The vintage stuff hasn't been touched up or boosted, and the new stuff includes good image reproduction and a fairly vivid color palette on the exterior shots. It's a pretty run of the mill presentation without complaint.

The Sound:

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or a DTS-HD MA two-channel track, either of which are fine. Dialogue is clear as a whistle, and the faux GNR/Velvet Revolver music sounds fine, just as the stuff from Slash's Snakepit. It does not get a lot to do as far as low-end fidelity or directional effects go, but like the transfer the soundtrack is pretty straightforward and has no substantial issues..

Extras:

A trailer and that's it.

Final Thoughts:

I like Slash, and there are moments in Raised on the Sunset Strip that are fun and make the film worth watching. Yet it feels like abstract storytelling to a degree, something that could have been done much better than it came out here. Technically, the disc looks and sounds fine, and could have used a supplement or two. But don't spend a lot of time seeking this out.

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