Monday, March 19, 2012

Deadbeat At Dawn

DeadBeat At Dawn (1988)

Dir: Jim Van Bebber (Necrophagia/The Manson Family)

IMDB Rating: 6.7 out of 10

Once in a while I stumble on to a film that truly exemplifies the term "Exploitation" film. When I think of the word used to describe a film or film genre , I automatically think of films that depict people and surroundings as grim and trashy as possible and certain films live up to that standard I have set my expectations to. Films like Combat Shock, Street Trash, Tenement, The Paul Morrisey Trilogy and a few select others. Deadbeat At Dawn is certainly one that fits the criteria and man what a film it is. On  the surface it can be looked at as a standard gang movie like The Warriors but if that is the case than this is The Warriors on PCP. Not since Combat Shock have I watched a film that depicted the on goings of the inner city in such a graphic , dirty and honestly over the top fashion. So let's get into Deadbeat At Dawn shall we?

            Our protagonist if you can call him that is Goose a neighborhood  junkie thug that is the leader of a street gang called The Raven's , they are in a heated feud with rival gang The Spider's led by Danny. As things get more intense between the two gangs Danny and Goose have a face off that leaves Goose seriously wounded and after escaping the police ,Goose's girlfriend Chrissy pleads for him to quit the lifestyle as she tends to his wounds. After some thinking Goose finally decides perhaps he will be better off sticking with his heart and giving up the gang life for a potential family life. Upon informing Keith the second in command that he is resigning , Goose is informed that The Raven's and The Spider's are joining forces which does not sit well with Goose but it doesn't matter as he has bigger and better plans that lie ahead.The following night Goose plans one making one last drug deal to stack some money for he and his lady. While he is out Chrissy has a premonition that she is in danger while fiddling with her Ouija board. Just as this occurs two of Danny's goons arrive at her door and brutally murder her while Goose is away.

After Goose returns home to find Chrissy's body and disposing of her corpse , he begins to feel lost and falls into some serious depression as well as fear knowing the gangs are now after him as he is all alone now. Goose shacks up with his insane heroin addicted father for a few days until his pop's habits lead him to trying to rob his own son for his next fix. Now with nowhere to go Goose roams the streets with nothing but his painful thoughts. It gets to the point that goose finds himself in an alleyway after a night of binge drinking and he prepares to off himself to end the pain he is experiencing when his former friend, now Raven's leader Keith finds him and stops him. He has a proposition for him stating that he has an opportunity for him as the gangs combined are planning a big heist of an armored truck. Goose believing that Danny is responsible for his girlfriends death is hesitant to join but with nothing left to loose he agrees to provide his services. Keith acknowledging Goose's martial arts and stealth abilities assigns him to ambush the guards. Meanwhile Danny is unbeknownst to Keith still planning on offing Goose but due to the truce he cannot. A few weeks pass and it is time for the big job and surprisingly it goes down without a hitch as the gang takes over the armored truck in a truly violent showdown.

After the big score as the Raven's celebrate their success, Goose let's Keith know his feelings about the Spider's as he believes that Danny is planning to take to turn on the Raven's and keep the money for himself.Keith and the rest of the gang don't buy it as they head to the Spider's meeting point where in fact Danny does ambush the Raven's who went into the meeting unarmed except for Goose, thanks to his gut feeling and after a gory shoot out Goose manages to flee as the lone survivor of The Raven's with the cash. After a intense chase Goose narrowly escapes the gang and scrambles for a hiding spot to lay low for awhile. This does not go as easy as planned as it appears everyone in this town is packing a gun as Goose has a interesting run in with a Mormon looking young man and his grandmother while stealing a soda at a local liquor store.Goose knowing that the gang is not going to give up hunting him down until they have that cash , he decides to track down Chrissy's younger sister. Once he does he sets up a meeting with her estranged sis in order to give her the money for her family. As Goose heads to the meeting pint unfortunately he is spotted and while waiting for the young woman he is cornered by Danny and several goons. This leads to easily the most graphic and bloody showdown of the film as Goose is a one man army with his Kung-Fu skills while being out numbered by the double digits. As Goose takes out the gang one by one while taking a significant amount of damage , Danny flee's with the bag of cash. Once Goose disposes of the last remaining man which so happens to be BoneCrusher who was responsible for killing his girl, Goose gives chase to Danny.
At this point the two low life's get an impromptu meeting with Chrissy's sister as the two duke it out in the final brawl which leaves both men fallen. Goose however gets some serious revenge as he kills his longtime rival in seriously over the top fashion, Which is suiting for this film as nothing here has been subtle whatsoever.

DeadBeat At Dawn is truly a gritty and grimy film and it truly makes you feel dirty while watching it, which in this case is a good thing because that is exactly what it sets out to do. The film is exploitation at it's finest and paints everyone in the film as low of a scumbag as possible. This is not a feel good film and it shows. This flick is what Grindhouse truly is and was and films like "Hobo with a Shotgun" and  "Father's Day" as well as many of the over the top "Grindhouse" style rehashes truly owe this films some serious credit as I feel it was truly ahead of it's time when it comes to pushing boundaries. I highly recommend this flick to anyone that likes the "Grindhouse" style films as this one is as gritty as you will find. It is not a light hearted film and everything is amped up to eleven from the dialogue to the gore to the story all is truly brutal and well put together.As I stated before this is like "The Warriors" on PCP and that is honestly the best way I can think of describing it.Honestly the only film I have ever seen that even remotely resembles the despicable nature of the characters and their surroundings would be "Combat Shock" or "Tenement" and I loved those films as well. This would make for one hell of a movie night alongside those two accompanying it. Definitely a recommended watch if you can stomach it, It will be worth your time I promise.

Fun Factor:8
Overall: 7.5 out of 10

1 comment:

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