Battle of the Year
Running Time:1 hour 49 minutes
Even though it is the birthplace of Hip-Hop and break dancing, the United States hasn't won the world's most prestigious B-Boy competition, Battle of the Year in 15 years. Hip-Hop mogul Dante Graham (Laz Alonso) decides to fund a hand-picked dream team of America's best B-Boys to battle the rest of the world's top crews and bring the championship back to the US where it belongs. In order to turn a group of strangers into a real team, Dante reaches out to Jason Blake (Josh Holloway), a friend from his childhood crew, to coach this team to victory. But even if they can overcome their petty squabbles and come together in time for Battle of the Year, they still might not be able to overcome the defending champions from Korea.
I am a big fan of all things dance. I watch Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and I am usually first in line when there is a new Step Up movie, so it should come as no surprise that I was excited to see Battle ofthe Year. This film is exactly what you think it is: lots of phenomenal dance scenes, less than phenomenal acting, cheesy metaphors about how dance is like life and a lot of painfully sincere speeches.
Many of the people in this movie are dancers and not actors, so the dancing is top quality and that is the real reason to see a movie like this, but it is hard to overlook how bad some of the acting is. Holloway is every sports movie coaching stereotype you have ever seen and Josh Peck plays his assistant Franklyn with an almost hilarious level of narrow-eyed earnestness. Although very flawed, Battle of the Year gives you what you came for, and I only wish it had given us even more. C+
All the actors in Battle of the Year work very hard to seem sincere and intense. This comes off however, as totally cheesy and predictable. So predictable that whenever there was any pause in the dialogue I could always guess what was about to be said. This would make it seem like I hated the movie, but alas, like Scott I am a sucker for all things dance. I am pretty sure it stems from watching the terrible Breakin movies from the 1980s with my parents.
I came to see Battle of the Year for one reason--the dancing, and on this front the choreographed scenes were spectacular. I only wish there were more of them. The actors and dancers used in the film are extraordinary dancers, and the makers of the film focused too much on the preparation for the end competition and not enough on the dancing. Even if your a fan of dancing, just wait until this comes out on DVD and don't waste your money at the theaters. C