REVIEW: BATTLE OF THE YEAR
SYNOPSIS: Battle of the Year is an international dance crew tournament that attracts all the best teams from around the world, but the Americans haven’t won in fifteen years. Los Angeles Hip Hop mogul Dante (Alonso) wants to put the country that started the Sport back on top. He enlists his hard-luck friend Blake (Holloway), who was a championship basketball coach, to coach his team. Armed with the theory that the right coach can make any team champions, they assemble a dream team of all the best dancers across the country. With only three months until Battle of the Year, Blake has to use every tactic he knows to get twelve talented individuals to come together as a team if they're going to bring the Trophy back to America where it started.
Inspired by an actual competition in France.
REVIEW: Somehow it seems like director Benson Lee's Battle of the Year3D, is essentially a fictional reboot of his Planet B-Boy, the 2007 documentary film which documented break-dancing teams from eighteen nations competing in the Battle of the Year championship in Braunschweig, Germany. On one hand, with this latest effort, Lee is able to portray the American dance crew's incredible synchronicity and dance skills as more than just hip-hop dance and music-traditions during a performance at the 22nd annual Battle of the Year in France. However on the other hand, the storyline fell short in its efforts to portray the U.S. as the great melting pot that is not only responsible for creating the Hip-hop culture and dance, but can still dominate with supremacy. Making matters worse for Lee, the finale is the only thing that electrifies the screen, throughout the one hundred and nine minutes of run-time. And as if to add insult to injury, somehow Lee, et al, fails miserably to include a profound recognizable hip-hop soundtrack to complement the dance sequences. This, in my opinion, was the biggest let down of the film. The beats and rhythms normally expected for any hip-hop performance are usually very hip, easily recognizable and most of all relevant to the break-dancing performance. Not one track in the entire film was relatable to the performances. Such a huge let down here because the performers and performances were awesome. As a matter of fact, the featured performers here made Chris Brown appear to be a ‘wannabe’ through every dance scene. He simply couldn’t match up. Sympathy came to mind, when it was his turn to show his break-dance skill-set.
Overall, the movie is not a complete failure and does show that the break-dance art is probably more popular than ever, though, that would be because of the international community’s embrace of the art. I would not spend the time or the money to see this flick before the DVD release (especially not in 3D – what a waste!) However, there is something to be said for the die-hard hip-hop fan that would probably enjoy it in theaters. Battle of the Year 3D gets three stars out of five, for great artistry in dance performances, but loses points for the lack a decent soundtrack.
By Movi-Man Stan
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