xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Robert Townsend’s “The Five Heartbeats” takes the notion of a musical biopic one step further than usual. His movie is not only the rags-to-riches story of a group of guys from the neighborhood who become big stars, but also the story of what happens to them next.
Their ultimate destination is not simply stardom, which is fairly easy for them to attain, but maturity and happiness, which are a lot harder.
The Five Heartbeats are a rock singing group, loosely patterned on groups such as the Dells and the Temptations. They start out singing for fun in living rooms and street corners, they perform in local amateur nights, they gain an audience of friends and neighbors, and then they’re spotted by a talent scout who wants two things - to make them stars, and to rip them off.
The broad outlines of this story are familiar from a lot of other showbiz biographies, maybe because this is more or less the way it happens with a lot of performers. What Townsend adds that’s special is the way he sees each of the five group members as an individual with his own problems and destiny. This is not only a biography with music, but also a thoughtful look at the way five young men from a poor but nurturing black neighborhood find success, and deal with it.