John’s Movie Review: “Battle of the Year”
The film “Battle of the Year” failed to find its rhythm.
I’m willing to admit that I’m not the target demographic for this movie but it can still have endearing characters, impressive dance moves and a charming enough story. Unfortunately, only one of those aspects was fulfilled.
The film revolves around the dance style of “b-boying” (a.k.a. breakdancing)–why they couldn’t call it breakdancing I do not know–and about the dance crew called the Dream Team taking part in the titular Battle of the Year in France to reclaim the championship title from the Korean team.
This film is extremely lackluster. If this was just another run-of-the-mill sports underdog film that would be one thing but there was such a lack of character development and basic storytelling that the film will leave the audience with nothing.
Benson Lee, the director of “Battle of the Year” has apparently made a well-received documentary “Planet B-Boy,” which is probably a better choice than this film.
Josh Holloway of “Lost” plays a washed up former basketball coach/breakdancer. Now, take a minute and imagine Sawyer from “Lost” breakdancing. I hope this made you laugh.
And of course he’s an alcoholic, his wife and child have died and any other imaginable cliché as well.
I give Holloway credit: he is trying in this role, but the role offers nothing. Still, the worst-development characters are the dancers themselves.
The final team consists of 13 members—the audience barely knows a thing about any of them outside of one note clichés. There’s a gay character and one homophobic character and of course by the end he is not homophobic anymore. There is the egotistical jerk (played by Chris Brown) and so on.
The only one who breaks the mold is a character named Flipz who is married and has a child and doesn’t want to abandon them. At least this gives the audience something to root for which sadly the other characters don’t have. Josh Peck is also in the film, but unfortunately, he barely has a character.
The dancing is impressive, I’ll give it that, but since this movie doesn’t really explain what makes good “b-boying,” those scenes don’t really carry any weight because the audience doesn’t know what makes one performance better than the next. The film was very similar in content to the 2002 film “Drumline,” but “Drumline” displayed what made good marching bands and music, it had character growth and it took the time to fully develop the story and progress of the band, all of which “Battle of the Year” failed to do.
So in the end even if you’re a fan of or want to know more about “b-boying,” my guess is that you should probably stick to the documentary film “Planet B-Boy” which as the film points out, you can find on Netflix.