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Case Number 16439: Small Claims Court

Buy U2: A Rock Crusade at Amazon

U2: A Rock Crusade

Infinity Entertainment // 2008 // 40 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 22nd, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson's rock name is Mono.

The Charge

Was this ripped off of YouTube?

The Case

I'm okay with U2. There's no way I can deny their talent or impact on the music world. And Bono seems like a cool cat. His interviews reveal him to be a good-minded dude, smart and insightful. The guy is almost certainly over-exposed, but I think his heart is in the right place. That all being said, this fawning release is embarrassing in its near-erotic praise of Bono and his bandmates.

The documentary runs a tad south of 50 minutes and focuses on the activism of the band, not the music. This isn't a musical biography, but rather a short anthology of Bono's exhaustive work on behalf of the poor and suffering of the world. You'll get a solid cross-section of the organizations and causes he's trumpeted over the years: Greenpeace, third-world country debt forgiveness, AIDS in Africa, cleaning up nuclear waste, the RED campaign and whole lot of fighting against poverty with irritating Hollywood celebrities.

Now, Rock Crusade is an unauthorized biography, and it certainly looks the part. Lots and lots of dated file footage and archived interviews are resuscitated and tossed together in a semi-coherent, sort-of chronological narrative thread, then narrated by a guy who seemingly pronounces the word "Bono" differently every time he says it.

Look, if you're rabid U2 and/or Bono fanboy or fangirl, there might be something of value here. Or maybe you're just angling to flesh out your shrine. Regardless, I can't see this release appealing to anyone else. The production value is sub-par and the slack-jawed, amorous narration approaches masturbatory levels. For 98 percent of the viewing public out there, I'd say pass.

The disc lives down to its unauthorized billing: the full frame transfer is VHS quality and the 2.0 stereo mix is one of the worst I've heard in a long time. There are four additional segments that essentially rehash material found in the feature proper.

My favorite moment: French president Jacques Chirac being referred to by the narrator as "center-right." Center-right of whom? Che Guevera?

The Verdict

Guilty. It's a crappy day.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 50

Perp Profile

Studio: Infinity Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 40 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Concerts and Musicals
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurettes


• U2.com

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