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By Merle Bertrand | December 13, 1999

Well, this was kind of a pointless exercise. What we’ve got here is some crappy video footage of a crowd outside the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, waiting to get into a 1990 performance of the band Bad Religion. Then we go inside for a sound check performance, followed by an announcement that the Fire Marshall has cancelled the show. Finally, it’s back outside where the angry mob lurks dangerously…while a riot rages INSIDE the theater and OFF-CAMERA. What the hell’s the point of that? This whole tape plays like something you’d see on CNN when they’re running their raw, unedited video feed of a breaking event for filler, except that this video doesn’t show us anything. Instead, we’re stuck outside listening to bystanders talking about the riot and hearing the sirens and sounds of breaking glass out of the camera’s view. (And the additional, tacked on footage of the band in concert at Cal State Northridge University doesn’t make up for it. If anything, its inclusion just dilutes this whole mess even further.)
Sure director Richard White gets a few shots of some bloodied victims as well as some footage of the shattered ticket kiosk and lobby, but so what? The horses are way out of the barn by that point. If we’d been inside while the action was going on, dodging the flying theater seats and rampaging mobs, that would have at least been interesting viewing, which is a lot more than I can say for this exercise in silliness.

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