Brian Trenchard-Smith is a legend amongst Australian B-movie fans, having made his name in low-budget Australian cinema before directing two installments of the Leprechaun franchise. Stunt Rock is perhaps one of his most unusual efforts, although it remains a charming time capsule of 1970s Ozspolitation flicks. Part stunt reel, part action flick, part rock concert, it truly is, as they say, the whole package.
Stunt Rock is a pseudo-documentary about Australian stuntman Grant Page, who worked on a number of famous Australian films. He plays himself on a journey to Hollywood to meet up with his “cousin,” who is a member of the real-life band Sorcery. But they aren’t just a band. They’re also stage musicians. This plot, such as it is, provides the framework for what is essentially a 1970s L.A. hangout film. Page does a bunch of cool stunts, there are several musical numbers by Sorcery, and really that’s the whole movie in a nutshell.
What could be better than stunts and rock music?
The hangout vibe just ensures you feel like you’ve spent 90 minutes going to concerts and watching people do cool shit, which, honestly, sounds like a pretty fun time. The whole film has a completely authentic charm about it that would be impossible to replicate these days.
Umbrella has released Stunt Rock on a newly remastered 4K scan from original elements, an upgrade from its previous release, which was only seen as an extra on The Man from Hong Kong (another Trenchard-Smith production). This new restoration looks crystal-clear, and I’m sure any fans of this niche title who saw it in the 1970s would probably do a double take seeing it polished up to such a standard.
It’s on Umbrella’s Ozspolitation label, a continuing series of releases that spotlight a particular type of Australian film, which is to say low-budget horror, comedy, sexploitation and action films distinct from more prestigious entries in the Australian film canon like Breaker Morant (which Umbrella released under its Sunburnt Screens label). Literally no one else in the world is doing the work to uncover classic Austrian gems like Umbrella, and their releases are region-free to boot so the rest of the world can enjoy them.
Stunt Rock is up to the standard of Umbrella’s other titles, with handsome packaging, a bonus comic book depicting the events of the film, and a truly staggering number of extras. These include two sets of audio commentaries, multiple interviews with cast and crew members, a documentary, interviews on the film, and a brand-new feature-length conversation with Trenchard-Smith filmed within the last year. Truly the complete package of this unusual but charming and authentic film, Umbrella’s release of Stunt Rock is a fine addition to any Oz film fan’s collection.