7.1/10
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34 user 30 critic

Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

Unrated | | Action, Crime | 14 May 1999 (UK)
After one too many encounters with The Spiders (a rival gang), The Ravens' leader's girlfriend tells him to quit the gang or it's Splitsville. He does so, but the leader of The Spiders is ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Harper ...
Danny
Jim Van Bebber ...
Goose
Megan Murphy ...
Christy
Ric Walker ...
Keith
Marc Pitman ...
Bone Crusher
Maureen Allisse ...
Iris (as Maureen Gentner)
Tom Burns
Steve King
Dave Parker ...
Drive-thru attendant
Bill Stover ...
Stubby
Carol Lee
Mark Gillespie
Tom Harris ...
Man in Bar
John Bradley
Lili Hendler
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Storyline

After one too many encounters with The Spiders (a rival gang), The Ravens' leader's girlfriend tells him to quit the gang or it's Splitsville. He does so, but the leader of The Spiders is hellbent on revenge and arranges the murder of the girlfriend. That ticks off the boyfriend, who wreaks havoc with the two gangs, who have joined forces in order to pull off a security truck heist. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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He quit the gangs. They killed his girl. He became...

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Action | Crime

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

14 May 1999 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bandas callejeras  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot over the course of 4 years. See more »

Quotes

Danny: [after being slapped] If you ever do that again, I'm gonna pull your eyeballs outta your head and eat 'em.
See more »

Connections

Edited into In the Belly of the Beast (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's funny when you're too close to the screen......
2 March 2014 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

My return to the world of movie critique has put me at 10 years of life experience to where I have to be as objective as possible when reviewing things. I state this because I had the dubious honor of personally meeting Jim Van Bebber during a screening of this movie. As much as I hope for more from his particular flavor of cinema, I still didn't get to tell him that I think this movie is downright the best piece he ever made. This is his heart and soul, readers.

I've seen just about everything JVB has made, but the perfect storm energies and circumstances that made this movie are still something that's evident to cinephiles and the like. I can't say it's sheer brilliance (this is style, not substance {Oh, the 80's}, and I don't think that JVB is big on messages anyhow), but I'm hard pressed to find anything as endearing by him as this movie.

Gutterpunk culture abounds, JVB's love of Dayton's microcosmic abysmal atmosphere of a bankrupt rust-belt town that's falling apart at the mid-line, and you get Deadbeat at Dawn. Very precise scheduling and editing, (it's what ya gotta do if you have no budget for film and man-hours) give this a somewhat frenzied pace, as well a feeling of Goose as kind of a mythological character consecrated to the street life. The soundtrack and dialogue keep the tension to a steady hum until the end sequence.

The story is basic, simple chop-socky territory, but you be hard-pressed to find as stylish as this as far martial-arts flicks go. All the character development is beautiful in that is serves to paint a very dismal world where everyone (even the well-off ones we don't see in the movie that often), has that next moment to live for and nothing else. You have drugs everywhere, you have an indifferent and ignorant populace, you have gangs armed with no real direction and all the trappings of a late 80's Midwestern society sharpened to a point. I always liked the martial arts sequences in this one, JVB studied Benny The Jet and it shows.

The odd thoughtfulness of Deadbeat At Dawn give it the heart it has, you see scenes of how violence can drive one to insanity at rationalizing indifference to it's nature. You see someone who had to fight for literally everything in his life and how it would just keep him spinning his wheels faster than everyone else until he couldn't stop. You see fleeting glory and permanent indolence. It's gritty to the core and that's why I love it. ****1/2


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