It’s been over 30 years since X Japan hit the scene and the popular Asian speed metal band has finally booked a gig at Madison Square Garden. Billed as “visual rock” (read: comic-books-meet-heavy-metal), the group has spent decades shaping Japanese culture. Stan Lee gave them his imprimatur — the Marvel guru appears in one of their music videos — yet when it comes to chronicling their accomplishments on film, all they have to show for themselves is 90 flashy minutes’ worth of rockumentary clichés. The film’s poetic preoccupation with death resulted in an early disconnect, but when working this far out of my comfort zone, a little angel always appears urging me to find something nice to say. Okay: subtitles are provided, even though certain band members are fluent in English. Not that it mattered. For as much as I took from this documentary, they might just as well have been speaking Japanese. Stephen Kijak directs. (2016) — Scott Marks
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