Review: Status Quo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and Russian Roulette Flick ‘Bula Quo!’ (2013)

bulaThe Status Quo are rockin’ all over the world, like they’ve been doing for more than fifty years. Next stop: Fiji! After the first concert on the island, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, the historic band leaders, decide to go out for a drink. A couple of drinks later nature calls and they both have to contemporarily go use the lo. Then for some reason they decide to follow a group of people who all gather in the back for some good old-fashioned Russian roulette. Scared to look death in the eye they decide to film the scene on their phone instead. Unfortunately, they have been filmed also and now wanted by a local mobster who’s blackmailing them to get back the footage that caught him red handed. 

Bula Quo! is the band’s first outing on the big screen. It’s very unfortunate that it’s a rather bad film. My father is the biggest Status Quo fan ever. He owns every record they’ve made and has seen them live multiple times. So of course when the film was announced he was very excited about the idea. Bula Quo! also happens to be a 9-song album the band released this summer. Growing up with the band’s music, I can say that I like them, some songs are pretty good and I’ve seen them playing live once as well. Bula Quo! is a fun album, with a great summer holiday feel and the typical upbeat energy you’d expect from them. Of course not every song is great, but Fiji Time and the title track Bula Bula Quo(Kua Ni Lega) are very enjoyable.

The film features the entire album as the soundtrack, plus some classics throughout. Too bad they didn’t compose any of the score for the film, that would have been interesting. The film itself doesn’t have much to offer aside from the band’s music. The story is very confusing, convoluted and makes little to no sense. There are a lot of coincidences, unclear plot points and plot holes. The farcical/screwball comedy works for some scenes, but not always. Maybe I just get British humor. The cinematography is uneven as well. Some scenes look absolutely stunning (mostly the landscapes), but then some outdoor shots look fairly cheap. I’m sure they had a lot of fun doing this movie, but it doesn’t really translate into the final product.

Rossi and Parfitt do a fairly decent job as themselves in the film. The other actors aren’t always as good, but I’ll give them a pass, because the real problem is the script. The tone of the film is also fairly perplexing. While it’s supposed to be a light action/comedy/adventure film, there’s some pretty dark stuff in it as well, like cannibalism, organ trafficking and the Russian roulette thing. It’s also not very nice to imply that there’s still cannibalism going on in Fiji, but since the main villain of the story is white I’ll give that a pass as well. However when you combine all these things together you can see why the film as a whole is very disappointing.

The action is poorly shot and executed. The ending is weird, I didn’t even understand that the film is over, because there’s a sizzle-reel/montage of deleted scene/video clip thing immediately after a slow motion scene, that somehow should have been the conclusion of the movie. Very odd. It all feels unresolved and the film only focusses on Rossi and Parfitt, forgetting everyone else in the band. One of the few scenes in which they appear in, they’re even made fun of. It’s so frustrating, because I’m sure that with a better writer/director this could have been a whole different story.

Like I said, my dad loves Status Quo and even he didn’t like this film aside from the music and the nice visuals. I don’t want to bash this film too much, because the guys seem nice and they’re just having fun here, but as a film I can’t recommend it. Listen to the album instead.

Rating on First Viewing: 3 out of 10

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