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Queen City Rocker (1986)

R | | Drama | September 1987 (USA)
A streetwise 19 year old, decides to "rescue" his sister from a massage parlor, but is thrown out. The massage parlor boss is a crooked concert promoter, so he and his gang, "hijack" a concert which incites the audience to riot.


Bruce Morrison


Bill Baer, Richard Lymposs (story)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Hunter Matthew Hunter ... Ska
Mark Pilisi Mark Pilisi ... Andrew
Kim Willoughby Kim Willoughby ... Stacy
Rebecca Saunders-Smith ... Fran (as Rebecca Saunders)
Peter Bland ... Jay Ryder
Ricky Bribiesca Ricky Bribiesca ... Sniper (as Ricardo Bribiesca)
Pevise Vaifale Pevise Vaifale ... Flak
Michael Morrissey Michael Morrissey ... Manager
Rob Jayne Rob Jayne ... Ryder's Driver
Greer Robson-Kirk ... Ska's Sister (as Greer Robson)
Simon Cornelius Simon Cornelius ... Ska's Brother
Norman Fletcher Norman Fletcher ... Ska's Father
Paki Cherrington Paki Cherrington ... Andrew's Father (as Te Paki Cherrington)
Tasi Hunuki Tasi Hunuki ... Andrew's Mother
Joe Tuaimau Joe Tuaimau ... Andrew's Brother


A streetwise 19 year old, decides to "rescue" his sister from a massage parlor, but is thrown out. The massage parlor boss is a crooked concert promoter, so he and his gang, "hijack" a concert which incites the audience to riot.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »



New Zealand



Release Date:

September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tearaway See more »

Filming Locations:

Auckland, New Zealand

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Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


(You're) One In A Million
Performed by Shona Laing
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User Reviews

Wild in the streets.
24 April 2004 | by vertigo_14See all my reviews

I'm confused as to why 'The Quiet Earth' should be listed as the recommended title to viewers who have watched Queen City Rocker ('Tearaway' to us Yanks) as they are two completely different films, other than having the common trait of being New Zealand productions.

Moreover, I didn't find Queen City Rocker to be the rock n' roll (or punk) anthem comparable to 'Repo Man' or 'Sid & Nancy' (although it is just as solemn as 'Sid & Nancy') as the synopsis on the box compares this movie to those. There is hardly even a rock n' roll setting to this movie, aside from a few catchy songs on the soundtrack and one scene at a concert. Queen City Rocker is hardly about rock n' roll at all. It is, however, about a bunch of street tough teens who soon realize that their lives as small-time thieves and petty thugs are going nowhere fast.

Ska (Matt Hunter) is the main character. He's a young kid, quiet and presumably wise. His buddy is Andrew (Mark Pilisi), a young black kid who enjoys the free life. Fran is Ska's sister, and the one who's he on a dangerous mission to protect from the tight-fisted binds of a high class pimp/businessman.

Ska's epiphany to get off his ass and do something about his sister comes from an extroverted young girl he saves from being gang raped on the streets. Stacey comes from money, and it looks as though she initially likes the idea of "slumming it" purely for kicks, but as the story goes along, her interest in Ska and his determination seems genuine indeed. However, Stacey arrives in the movie so quickly, and as a motivating, it's hard to believe that a stranger with such an abrupt arrival should have such an impact on Ska's decisions. One could assume that he was planning to undertake the mission to save his sister and fix things with himself long before Stacey's arrival (as he sits atop the building in the beginning looking down on the street, Ska seems frustrated with the imprisoning street life and small town). Still, even as Stacey hangs around Ska more, they start to get very close, but once again, she doesn't seem to have much in common with Ska, or at least known him very long, that would make this romance aspect of the movie very believable.

Another thing, too, is that the story moves all too quickly. Ska plans to help his sister Fran quit the business and then fight off the high class pimp and his henchmen because Ska and Andrew do some vandamage to the guy's hotel in the course of forcing Fran out (she's reluctant to ever quit herself because of the money). However, Ska and Andrew's opportunities for revenge seem to occur over the course of one day, if not simply a few hours. In most cases, where you're dealing with a do or die situation to get out of something dangerous, I would expect more than just a few hours or a day to mull things over (see Where the Day Takes You), especially when the resulting action is only minor. In fact, whatever Queen City Rocker was trying to express, they seemed to arrange it all in a compact story format.

Nonetheless, the product overall was good. Ska and his friend Andrew, despite being part of the hopeless street life, are appealing. They're like regular young kids just looking for a good time. Although for Ska, his good time soon comes to an end once he starts trying to define himself against everyone else. Hunter does a good job with his character. He seems like just a regular guy, not some obnoxious punk or anything like that. The movie is kind of slow at points, particularly in the beginning as you try to figure out a quiet guy like Ska. The mood is just plain all around. Nothing flashy, just simple. And for Queen City Rocker (again, 'Tearaway' for us Yanks), it worked out. It's definitely something to try out if you ever have the opportunity to catch it.

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