Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris Cole, the lead singer of a tribute band who becomes lead singer of the real band he idolizes. This movie explores the rabid popularity and backstage excesses of the glam rock bands that dominated 1980's music.
To hammer the point home, the working title of the film (seen on the clapper on outtakes on the DVD) was Rock God. "Rock God" is the nickname of Rob Halford, the man Owens replaced.
Basement-Dweller: Although he doesn't live in the basement, pre-fame Chris Cole is a grown man who still lives with his parents (a fact that his police officer brother loves pointing out), and his bedroom walls are covered in Steel Dragon posters.
Binge Montage: Happens while Steel Dragon is on tour and living the rock and roll lifestyle.
Book Ends: Chris impresses the lead singer by singing along at a concert; a fan later does the same thing to him.
British Rockstar: Most of the other members of Steel Dragon, although Ghode (the other guitarist, played by Zakk Wylde) is American, as evidenced by his New Jersey accent.
Control Freak: Chris' insistence that Blood Pollution play the songs exactly the same way Steel Dragon does, as well as refusing to let his bandmates play original songs, eventually results in him being kicked out of the band.
Mr. Fanservice: As the manager explains, this is why the band is popular.
Ms. Fanservice: Nina and Samantha, the two Steel Dragon fangirls/groupies. Their only roles in the film seem to be looking sexy and saying everything in unison (although they were ultimately responsible for Chris joining Steel Dragon by showing a Blood Pollution video tape to Kurt Cutty).
No Celebrities Were Harmed: No bands were harmed; although their story is based on Judas Priest, Steel Dragon could easily be a stand-in for Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses, Twisted Sister, Poison, Winger, Slaughter, Warrant, etc.
The Show Must Go On: In the very beginning of the first song in his first concert with Steel Dragon, Chris Cole slips and falls down the stairs. Despite a nasty head wound and possible concussion, Chris rallies and finishes the song and the concert.
Sibling Rivalry: Chris thinks his brother, Joe, fight constantly. Joe thinks Chris is a pathetic Basement-Dweller, while Chris thinks his brother is a pig cop. Their relationship seems to improve after Chris joins Steel Dragon.
Shown Their Work: In-universe, Chris knows everything about Steel Dragon. "The stitching should be green... and has anyone ever seen Bobby wear a jacket with blue lapels?"
"Stop Having Fun" Guys: An in-universe example. The other members of Blood Pollution are playing to have a good time, but Chris is so obsessive about perfectly imitating Steel Dragon that it causes his bandmates to resent him, and ultimately results in him being kicked out of the band.