Kulani Nkuna
1 minute read
25 Oct 2013
6:00 am

No art in this dance battle

Kulani Nkuna

Does the world really need another street dance flick? The Step Up series and Save The Last Dance were interesting at the time of their releases, but predictably, their characters used street hip hop battles to avoid and get out of trouble.

These movies also involved white characters going into a black neighbourhood and invariably these visitors would master the dance styles they discovered and end up winning a competition, disproving some antagonist who always says “Go back to the ‘burbs, white boy,” or similar.

Battle Of The Year is centred around a worldwide competition where the best B-boys in the world get together in battle. It is based upon director Benson Lee’s documentary of the same name.

So it has, on paper, the right ingredients to classify it as credible.

Alas, the film features crews who all too easily fit the formula of stereotyped inner-city street kids as far as their lingua franca and the way they fight and behave towards each other at the beginning of the film is concerned.

Hip hop fans will appreciate that the motive of one of the characters in the film is to restore the previous glory of B-boying, as it has become lost in the commercialisation of the scene.

But they will be disappointed, because the film offers nothing more than the usual group of disparate people coming together, being deeply divided (the coach is a former star white B-boy and an alcoholic who is battling his own demons while trying to create a united team) and then rallying together to form a unit and perform competitively.

The dance sequences are sublime, but they are not enough to lift the piece above its dreary dialogue and poor plotting.