Adrian Greensmith as Hunter in Netflix's "Metal Lords."

Adrian Greensmith as Hunter in Netflix's "Metal Lords." Credit: NETFLIX/Scott Patrick Green

MOVIE "Metal Lords"

WHERE Streaming on Netflix

WHAT IT'S ABOUT High school pals Hunter (Adrian Greensmith) and Kevin (Jaeden Martell) start a metal band with an unprintable name in "Metal Lords."

But they must contend with two obstacles: No one else at their suburban educational institution can expound on the differences between Judas Priest and Megadeth, so there's not much of an audience for the group, and they desperately need a bass player.

There's an excellent candidate for the position in classmate Emily (Isis Hainsworth), a cellist who can jam to Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" at a moment's notice. But Hunter's ego and shortsightedness get in the way: He doesn't think she fits the male-dominated "image" of a metal band, and he becomes even more jealous when she and Kevin start dating.

Then there's the usual group of jocks who are compelled by the demands of the high school picture to bully our protagonists.

The Netflix movie is directed by Peter Sollett (who long ago made the excellent "Raising Victor Vargas") and written by "Game of Thrones" co-creator D.B. Weiss.

MY SAY There's a lot of expounding on the ethos of metal throughout this movie. So there's no shortage of irony in the fact that "Metal Lords" fails at one of the most critical qualities of any great metal band by being breathtakingly boring.

Whether you're into songs with lyrics like "Generals gathered in their masses/just like witches at black masses" or your musical tastes skew toward the softer side, it's unequivocal that the best metal artists are flamboyant, dynamic, and really anything but routine.

Any movie that ostensibly pays tribute to this has got to do better than a screenplay that amounts to little beyond a series of predictable teen picture cliches, with a touch of a "High Fidelity" rip-off, a pinch of "School of Rock" and some completely inconsistent character development thrown in.

If there were never another movie predicated around a Battle of the Bands finale, that would be fine. There's no reason for "Metal Lords" to have a car chase, and yet it does, in what appears to be desperation to stretch its running time to  feature length.

Any movie that wants to reflect the spirit of a great metal band needs something more than narration that's used as a crutch to explain every moment and lead performances that offer not a hint of depth or pathos, or even the slightest bit of energy.

The actors seem to have missed that these characters are supposed to be experiencing one of the most transformative periods of their lives.

But it's not all on Greensmith, for example. Hunter is supposed to be a misunderstood loner but he's written as so creepy and controlling that even a young Tom Hanks would have found it impossible to make an audience sympathize with him.

BOTTOM LINE Play your favorite Rage Against the Machine album instead.

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