Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DEAD IN 5 HEARTBEATS (movie review)

Review by Ryan McLelland

Produced by Jeff Santo, Sonny Barger. 
Exceutive produced by Zorana Barger, Christie Collins. 
Directed by Jeff Santo. 
Screenplay by Jeff Santo, Sonny Barger 

Based on the book by Barger.

Jeff Black - Patch Kinkade
David Della Rocco - Angelo Timmons
Robert "Chico" Mora - Ahab
Jake Meehan - Nine Inch
Talon Vaughan - Hollister Timmons
Bob Rubin - See Saw

Sharpfinger Films / Unrated

Jeff Santo, the phenomenal filmmaker known for his documentaries This Old Cub and Off The Boulevard, returns to the camera with a love letter to motorcycle clubs.   

The film, Dead In 5 Heartbeats adapts the novel of the same name which was published in 2004 and written by Sonny Barger, a a founding member of the Hells Angels.  Released  several years before the similarly themed television series, Sons of Anarchy aired, both the book and the film are certainly less soapy and episodic than Sons, diving head first into the world of motorcycle club rivalry and that ties that always keep those clubs together.

Heartbeats stars actor Jeff Black as Patch Kinkade, a member of The Infidelz motorcycle club that leaves his chapter in California for easier living in Arizona.  Paradise is short lived when a member of The Infidelz is murdered in cold blood outside of a hangout that saw every motorcycle club in the area partying at back in California.  Chapter president Ahab (Robert "Chico" Mora) drives all night to retrieve Patch and bring him back to a club that is looking to him for leadership.

On the opposite side is Angelo Timmons (David Della Rocco), a thirty year veteran of the club who is having money problems.  With bills to pay, Angelo makes the decision to go outside the club, make a huge drug deal, and try to gather enough money to kiss his problems goodbye.  The plan doesn't go as expected and when Angelo is picked up by the feds he has to make the tough decision of ratting on his family at the motorcycle club or going off to federal prison.

The film weaves the tales of the two men together as one looks to find out who murdered his brethren and one who is just looking to survive.  When the two cross paths with each other and the different motorcycle clubs there is a feeling that the time bomb has long started to tick away. 

Easily the most amazing quality of Dead in 5 Heartbeats is the realism.  That is achieved by most of the clubs being played by actual Arizona motorcycle clubs like The Hooligans, Alma, and The Rollin Knights.  Even most of The Infidelz were played by actual Hells Angels members, this film being the first time they've acted in a production.  While they might not be the most polished actors in the world, the fact that they are actual Hells Angels lets you realize they don't act for the fun of it.  They are acting out portions of their life.  The fact that the curtain is pulled away by showing these motorcycle clubs in their actual environments adds a plethora of realism unseen in most films.

The film's shining star is David Della Rocco, best known for playing Rocco in The Boondock Saints, who gives another fantastic performance in the role of Angelo.  Rocco, a veteran with performances in other Santo films like Jake's Corner and Off the Boulevard, has no need to steal the show as he can, he gives a nuanced performance as the father who just wants to be able to pay his bills and provide for his son.

While the indie film lacks a slick Hollywood production look, Dead in 5 Heartbeats delivers a knockout punch to the genre with a far more interesting look at motorcycle clubs than Sons of Anarchy or anything else similar.  Having Sonny Barger producing from his own adaptation certainly helps while the rugged look of the "actors" envelops you into the motorcycle club lifestyle fully.  Dead in 5 Heartbeats is a 1-2 punch that even the most novice motorcycle enthusiast can truly enjoy.

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  1. Being a Hooligan Member and starring in the film was a wonderful experience to help show others what real Motorcycle Clubs are like. Honesty, Loyalty and Integrity is how we live. Dead in 5 Heartbeats is a true depiction of who we are. It's a great film for all to see. Much Love and Respect to the Premier Club for showing us the way to a Free American Lifestyle.

  2. It is a great movie , it's one of those movies that makes the viewer have to sit back and reflect on all the situations and how things transpire , this movie has a great deal of substance in terms of which is solid and practical in character .MLH&R

  3. Put it on Netflix. Not a sons of anarchy . I'll tell you that !

  4. The best movie made no Hollywood here REAL bikers with real issues great job cant wait for the sequel

  5. This is the movie to watch if you want the real deal on the world of Motorcycle Clubs. Not that crap they try to sell you on TV. Sonny knows what he's talking about.

  6. This movie is AWESOME!!! True biker life, not the wimpy Sons of Anarchy version!! Sonny went over the top in making this movie, very close to truth storyline, a must see!!

  7. Stupid FAT ugly old guys. Waste of time. Loooooooooo.....

  8. This movie is terrible. Bad acting, bad story. Utter bullshit.

  9. Excellent depiction of the lifestyle, love and loyalty of being a biker..

  10. This movie is lame awful. And dont come up how SOA sucks, even Sonny Barger and a couple of HA member contributed in that!

  11. Good reviewers must be scared or something. This is a horrible movie. Just screams cheap budget and bad acting. Was expecting way more than a cheap b flick.

  12. Watching this made me want to run out and get a Victory bagger. I loved Patch's ride. There was some pretty good music on the soundtrack.

  13. It is an extraordinary motion picture , it's one of those films that makes the viewer need to kick back and ponder every one of the circumstances and how things come to pass , this motion picture has a lot of substance as far as which is strong and down to earth in character .

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