Jon Mikl Thor was a bodybuilding, steel bending, brick smashing rock star in the 70’s and 80’s whose theatrical band, Thor, never quite made it big. Years later he attempts a comeback that nearly kills him.
As a former 80’s rocker myself, I can certainly appreciate the culture and style of that era. The band and singer “Thor” was one of the rockers of those times that clearly fell outside of the more mainstream hard rock band circles. His music did indeed have its own cult following that correlated nicely with his massive release of albums during that time, however it was more unlikely to see his act supporting many of the circulated MTV-centered bands that gained superstar status.
His music was beloved by his fans and in many ways a clear example of what the word heavy metal was “defined as” to that generation. While melodic rock acts like Ratt, Poison, and Cinderella were of a style and look that was a staple of the 80’s, Thor fell outside of the skinnier, slanky rockers look due to his massive body building frame and strength. The music leaned more towards the Judas Priest style of material rather than power ballads and anthem tunes. but was certainly right for its time.
His was a look that stood alone and most likely to never be imitated in the quite same way. A living comic-book-hero, Thor had a drive made clear from this exceptional rock lifestyle documentary titled “I am Thor“.
The film follows Thor’s career from his earlier days up until present time. Though you wouldn’t make the physical connection between the hulkish 80’s Thor and his much older self today. None the less, Thor-ism requires some pretty hard body building, and much too much for this 62-year old rocker to maintain with the stamina of his 20’s.
Jon Mikl Thor is the true incarnation of the lifer-rock star for richer or poor that has managed to keep an idea alive even up into the 21st century. Thor is a former bodybuilding champion, an actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician who in a nutshell has lived a full life rich with diversity, some European fame and alot of dedication to a simpler form of heavy metal rock.
The documentary takes us from the beginnings that began with “Mikl Body Rock” and evolved into the solo incarnation of “Jon Mikl Thor” supported by his old band members. For this review, I’ll simply refer to Mikl as Thor.
Thor took a leap into acting during the 80’s with films such as Recruits, Zombie Nightmare, Fubar, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare listed as his main cinematic achievements. His latest of course, the subject of this review “I am Thor” directed by Ryan Wise and produced by Ryan Wise and Al Higbee.
His legacy follows with quite a backlog of albums and material that never quite garnered a hit. The music in simple description is power chord rock with catchy but very simplistic lyrical content. Not much unlike several bands of his genre.
The film is designed to tell his story over the years from rock star to personal struggles and then back again to present day comeback. It’s a light hearted tale that really is complimented by Thor’s great “every-day guy” attitude. (too bad we can’t say that about more rockers from this era….).
It’s also a tale of one man’s quest for sticking to a dream (whether that dream requires plastic armor and European appeal) to just staying healthy enough to get thru the day. We join him at present back in the groove with several of his former band mates from the “Thor” era. Thor narrates us thru sickness and thru health.
By all accounts the film is a very watchable documentary that really shows the transitions of eras lost. Thor, quite the showman, may have just become a part of his greatest offering yet…… the need to “keep-on keeping-on” despite “who”, “what” or “how” gets in the way. For younger viewers who weren’t privy to the 80’s, it’s also a reflection of a lost era.
The irony here is that as a reviewer, this was my formal introduction to Thor’s music…and like many who might see this film..it’s a portal to appreciating what he has done
Rock on Thor, you inspire us all! My turntable is long gone but Thor mp3’s are making their way to my Ipod.