Like The Harder They Come, this is a movie that takes the viewer deep into the day to day reality of Jamaican Rastafari musical culture, at least the scene as it was in 1979. As with the Jimmy Cliff classic, Rockers is aided by subtitles to augment the thick patois of the actors, most of whom are musicians.
Rockers follows Leroy ‘Horsemouth’ Wallace, a drummer who has played with the likes of Burning Spear and Inner Circle, in his quest to make enough money to get by by selling records, since the playing of music doesn’t give him enough. He needs a motorcycle in order to become a hard working salesman taking 45s to the local record shacks from distributor Joe Gibbs, a real life major impresario in the early days. Along the way, he encounters ruthless bad guys who live large and steal big. The bad guys stole Horsemouth’s motorcycle and much ado is made regarding the means to get it back, and to "mash down" the unscrupulous resort owner.
The storyline is rife with intrigue and has a great Robin Hood-like ending. In between is glorious music by Dirty Harry, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller, Gregory Isaac and others. All but Isaacs have prominent acting roles, as well. Isaac is seen in concert and cracking a safe. Also appearing: Robbie Shakespeare plays a mechanic, the Mighty Diamonds are seen working in a metal shop, The Absynians and Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus. There is mention of Coxone and Channel One Studios and Big Youth. Peter Tosh music shows up prominently in the soundtrack. There are great scenes in a record store and at the baptismal river that both feature mesmerizing music. The take over of a disco by Horsemouth and Dirty Harry is one of the funniest scenes. Jacob Miller leads a killer club band and Frank Kiddus-Dowding is seen in studio recording. The acting is very believable and rarely looks like "acting."
Extras include the Director’s interview, Director’s Comments, bios of all the players, and a couple of videos - one from Inner Circle and the other is uncredited. Director Theodoros Bafaloukos said that this was filmed in downtown Kingston, "where not even policemen go." The film premiered at Cannes the same year that Apocalypse Now did. There were riots among those film goers who preferred the Rastafari movie. This is a fantastic movie and comes highly recommended from these quarters.