Hard Core Logo was directed by legendary filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Highway 61, Roadkill), and is an adaption of Michael Turner’s novel-in-verse about the legendary punk band’s reunion tour which transforms the rock ’n’ roll road experience into a tale of broken dreams and shattered friendships.
Quentin Tarantino saw it at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX and decided on the spot to distribute the movie through his company Rolling Thunder, bringing international attention to the indie classic and its lead actor.
Hugh Dillon lead singer with the real multi-platinum punk rock band the Headstones caught the attention of Bruce early on in his career and was cast in the lead role of Joe Dick who decides to reunite his cult punk band, for a Canadian tour. But lead guitarist with the band Billy Tallent (Callum Keith Rennie) is waiting to hear back from Jenifur, a popular Los Angeles based group considering bringing him into the band, all which causes tension with Joe, for whom Hard Core Logo is everything. Along with erratic bassist John Oxenberger (John Pyper-Ferguson) and hard-partying drummer Pipefitter (Bernie Coulson), the contentious duo take to the road.
With Joe promising Billy that this tour will be different this time around, they get a van, load up their gear, and set off to recapture the past and, in Joe’s case, to prove that despite the differences which broke them up in the first place, they should still be making music together especially after the success of their benefit show for punk rock legend Bucky Haight (Julian Richings) who had been shot.
But soon the cracks begin to show with Billy learning that being on the road with the band has cost him the chance to join Jenifur and Joe struggling to come to terms with the fact that Billy wants to play with another band, add into the mix that John Oxenberger who is schizophrenic, loses his medication all adds to the fact that you know things are not going to end well.
While on the road the band decides to stop off and see how their friend Bucky is fairing after the shooting only to find out that he is fit and well and that the story was a total fabrication from Joe in order to bring the band back together for what will most definitely be their last ever show.
Even though this film is 21yrs old today, it has not lost any of is raw authentic emotion and conflict which takes part between the two main band members, one that wants to continue in the same vein as before and can see nothing wrong with that and the other who has decided that he is being held back and now needs to move on all lends to the on screen chemistry between Dillon and Rennie being totally riveting and electric and along side the sad and intensely dark performance from Pyper-Ferguson this film shows all the emotions and turmoil of 4 young musicians touring across Canada who although have a great common talent and goal are all pulling in different directions due to immaturity and their inept way of dealing with their feelings, not just with life in general but with each other all leads up to a shocking end.
In a 2001 poll of 200 industry voters, performed by Playback, Hard Core Logo was named the second best Canadian film of the last 15 years. In 2002, readers of Playback voted it the 4th greatest Canadian film ever made, and it truly is an iconic film in every way.