Movie Review: Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon

Aaron ConnMovies, MusicLeave a Comment

This year of 2022 marks 40 years since the tragic passing of Randy Rhoads. In his short 25 years of life, the iconic guitarist’s body of work has gone on to influence and inspire many generations. Just recently, director Andre Relis and VMI Worldwide have released a new documentary on Rhoads. The movie, Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon, is a career spanning documentary about the guitarist. As a whole, Reflections is a decent documentary on the late guitarist- filled with archival footage and interviews with the people who knew him best.

Quiet Riot 1978Reflections is as simple as the rock documentary gets: it tells the story of Randy Rhoads from beginning to end- giving viewers insight on his careers with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne. First and foremost, it should be noted that this documentary is not a big budget documentary. If you’re expecting something like The Sparks Brothers, Zappa or Phil Lynott: Songs for While I’m Away– you’re going to be disappointed. If anything, this is more in line with the dozens of music documentaries on Prime Video that don’t have the license to use the artist’s own music. Despite all of this, Reflections manages to be a solid documentary: the information and content being provided to the viewer is all good. Along with this, the filmmakers were able to get the rights to use the music from the first two Quiet Riot albums released only in Japan- courtesy of Laura DuBrow Mandell, the late Kevin DuBrow’s mother.

Ozzy and Randy

(Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

The story of Randy Rhoads is told in this movie in the form of exclusive interviews and archival clips, with some narration from L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns. For exclusive interviews, the filmmakers were able to talk to people such as original Quiet Riot drummer Drew Forsyth, bassist Rudy Sarzo, Randy’s girlfriend Jodi Vigier and photographer/friend Ron Sobol. Speaking of Sobol, his photography and video footage of Quiet Riot’s early days are a wonderful visual aide throughout the movie. Speaking of Sobol, he directed his own documentary on Randy’s Quiet Riot years a decade ago. With that movie being very hard to track down, it’s nice to see that this story and footage have found their way into this movie.

Along with exclusive interviews, the movie pulls from archival interviews. Some longtime Quiet Riot fans might recognized some of these videos from being on YouTube and/or for another production (i.e. The Quiet Riot documentary Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back). This is done especially for people that have passed away such as the aforementioned Kevin DuBrow, longtime Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and Randy’s mother Delores Rhoads. Even if these interviews are pulled from other sources, they are placed nicely within the overall story of Rhoads’ life and add some context.

If the movie had any downsides, some of the information in this movie may not be new to longtime fans. Along with this, there’s more time spent on Rhoads’ time  in Quiet Riot than his time with Ozzy Osbourne. At times, it felt like the focus was more on Quiet Riot rather than Rhoads. Whether this is because of the lack of Osbourne’s music in the movie- it’s hard to say. Then again, Osbourne’s solo career has been well documented and in reality- Rhoads was with Osbourne for only three years.

For what it is, Reflections is a solid documentary. Despite some of the aforementioned flaws, there was clearly some effort put into this. Even with its flaws, the overall story told and content provided really carry this movie. Whether or not you know about Rhoads’ career, this movie is worth watching.

 

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Aaron ConnMovie Review: Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon