Film review: Rock of Ages (12A)

BOW down to the gods of rock as director Adam Shankman cranks up the volume to 11 for this energetic musical based on a popular stage show.

Punctuated by breathlessly choreographed, show-stopping renditions of Pat Benatar, Europe, Foreigner, Journey and Poison among others, Rock Of Ages is 123 minutes of unabashed joy.

The cast are in fine voice including a bare-chested Tom Cruise, who took singing lessons to deliver Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead Or Alive and Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me with a primal swagger. He rocks.

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So does Shankman’s film which captures the same vitality and boundless sense of fun as the director’s 2007 adaptation of Hairspray, swapping the racial tensions of 1960s Baltimore in that film for the wild abandon of 1980s Hollywood, which serves as a vibrant backdrop here to long-haired, leather-clad

romance. The cast have a ball, not least Russell Brand as his co-stars hit the high notes on Any Way You Want It, Every Rose Has Its Thorn and I Want To Know What Love Is. Cruise embraces the spirit of Axl Rose in his scenes, sparing us only a few blushes in a jewel-encrusted dragon-shaped codpiece and leather chaps.

Rating: ****