Released: May 20 2004
Cast: Damon Gameau, Stephen Curry, Ryan Johnson, Callan Mulvey, Sam Worthington
Director: Darren Ashton
Genre: Comedy
Rated: M15+ low level coarse language
Running Time: 100 Minutes

Break Every Rule But Never Break A Promise

An AC/DC concert, Sydney, 1991. At the front of the mosh pit are five devoted fans having the night of their lives: Sonny (Damon Gameau The tracker), Ben (Stephen Curry, The Castle), Lloyd (Ryan Johnson, The Wannabes), Sam (Callan Mulvey, Heartbreak High) and Ronnie (Sam Worthington, Getting' Square). Sonny, thrust onto the stage by his mates, dives back into the crowd and the band's lead guitarist/rock god Angus Young tosses him his cap in acknowledgement. Although the boys are thrown out of the after show part they attempt to crash, for a moment they share the same room as their heroes.

As they try to make their way home, a cab driver speeds off to avoid them and crashes his car fatally. Reeling with shock, certain that they would have died in the accident, they have a moment of revelation. What delayed them was the sight of a 1978 poster of AC/DC's former lead singer, the late Bon Scott, looking down on Sonny and Ronnie in a laneway. It was this moment that saved their lives.

In their relief and exhilaration, they make a pact that, if any one of them should die, the others will bury him next to Bon Scott in Fremantle Cemetery, on the other side of the country. Twelves years pass and the four survivors have to fulfil the promise.

My Verdict:
At long last here is an Australian comedy that hits the mark. 'Thunderstruck' is so very funny and so very entertaining. What makes it so entertaining is that it really turns into a road trip comedy of errors. Most Australians would have a memory of a road trip that went awry, yet somehow the end result, although not planned, is still quite acceptable. This is what happens to the foursome as they travel from Sydney to Fremantle, Western Australia, to bury the ashes of Ronnie, who was struck by lightning on a golf course or rather he was thunderstruck, hence the double play of the title that is also an AC/DC anthem. In a 'borrowed' Tarago van, the boys reunite and confiscate the ashes and set off. What happens along the way is a mix of characters and events, allowing for some cameos by some well-known faces including Quentin Kenihan, Nikki Visser and John Doyle. Apart from the adventures on the trip, the boys re-discover each other, realising that what they had was true mateship that is hard to dismiss even though their lives have gone in different directions. Watch out for a very memorable rendition of Bonnie Tyler's hit 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart' which the boys sing together in the van in the middle of nowhere.

'Thunderstruck' has a great soundtrack to add to the atmosphere, combining hard rock with a few easy listening tracks to balance. Don't be mistaken and think that this is just an expose on a rock band - far from it, for it is a picture of rock fans and their devotion and passion to a band and to each other, which most of us would have had a taste of sometime in our lives.

'Thunderstruck' was shot on location in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. The final scene is at the Fremantle cemetery where 1500 fans gathered to welcome the boys when they finally arrive, rocking along as they perform on the back of a truck, accompanied by a pipe band to 'Long Way To The Top'. It is a very fitting finale to a great movie that really rocks. And, whatever you do, don't leave before all the credits are shown at the end of the movie or you will miss possibly one of the funniest visual gags ever seen.

Rating : A-

Christina Bruce