**The following is an in-depth review of “Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2” and does contain spoilers.**
Set 19 years after the original’s 1985 period – so, 2004 – “Punk’s Dead” follows the exploits of Ross, the illegitimate child of original character Heroin Bob and Bob’s girlfriend in the original film, Trish. Ross has a somewhat skewed worldview on life, mostly from growing up without a father, due to Heroin Bob’s accidental overdose on narcotic pain pills.
Ross fell in love for the first time really in his life with a girl named Lillith. Lillith, unfortunately, thought it would be a good idea to sneak off with some other guy at a party. Ross sees them and leaves.
Ross soon meets up with his two closest friends, Penny and Crash. Ross, who has never touched a drop of alcohol in his entire life, decides today he wants to get drunk. Ross has lived such a sheltered life that he doesn’t even realize that you have to be 21 to buy alcohol, and is surprised when Crash asked how he was able to buy the beer. He just walked in and bought it, and didn’t think twice of it.
Ross wants to just get in Penny’s car and just wander, but Penny informs him that they’re going to be late for the punk rock show they’re supposed to go to. This prompts Ross to point out how ironic that statement is, pointing out that she’s worried about being punctual to anarchy.
Trish becomes worried about Ross because no one seems to know where he is, so she calls in three of Heroin Bob’s closest friends – also characters from the original movie – to help find her son.
The film basically follows Ross’ odyssey with his friends and the “adult’s” efforts to find him.
“Punk’s Dead” is an extremely enjoyable film. It has the same feel and basic structure as the original, while dealing with completely new themes and circumstances. It’s familiar and fresh all at the same time, and that is what a sequel is really supposed to be. James Merendino really understands storytelling.
Returning from the original film are Michael Goorjian as the ghost of Heroin Bob – who serves as the narrator – Devon Sawa as Sean, Adam Pascal as Eddie and James Duval as John the Mod, although now he’s John the Metalhead. While Trish is a character in both the original and the sequel, she is played by a different actress. Annabeth Gish – who played the character in the original – is replaced here by Sarah Clarke.
Not present – and sorely missed – is Matthew Lillard’s Stevo, who was the focal character of the original film. The film absolutely stands on its own two legs without Lillard’s character, but it would have been extremely interesting to see where Stevo is 19 years later – probably a lawyer – and how he’s dealt with the death of his best friend. I also find it inconceivable that he wouldn’t have been a strong father figure in Ross’ life. Stevo would have felt that he owed it to Bob to be there for his kid.
Heroin Bob’s mohawk is obviously fake. The line from his bald cap is not only visible, but it smacks you in the face every time Bob is on screen. While this can be distracting, it also strangely kind of fits for this film. It’s also over-shadowed by Michael Goorjian’s amazing performance.
The rest of the cast – both new and returning – all turn in wonderful performances. Devon Sawa is almost unrecognizable, all grown up and aging, but you can still see Sean come through in his performance. Especially in the scene where he’s walking around Washington, D.C. – Sean now works for a US Congressman – wearing oven mitts. Heroin Bob even comments that you can’t take the punk out of a guy like Sean.
All in all, this is a wonderful film and truly a delight to behold. It’s a must-see for any fan of the original. If you’re not a fan of the original, watch the original and then make sure to watch this one. Both of these are great films, for the true punk and the poser alike.