Sunday, September 22, 2013

Battle of the Year (2013): Review

Today I went to watch Battle of the Year (2013) because there was nothing else really interesting to me and I wanted something that was more entertaining fluff then anything.  This movie was exactly what I expected it to be and delivered the entertaining fluff I wanted.  It was however extremely predictable and followed the standard formula for this type of movie.
Battle of the Year: The Dream Team is the most recent in the dance battle movies which have been quite popular over the last decade plus.  For me the popularity of this move started by when I was in high school with Bring it On (2000) which was focused on a cheerleading composition, and Save the Last Dance (2001), which was about a ballet dancer learning to dance in the south side of Chicago, the formula really settled into what it is today with Step Up (2006) and its series.  There have been many, many more movies that fit into this type of series, focusing on different types of dance and competition.  I even clump Drumline (2002) in with this as it had the battle off element to it.  Battle of the year focuses on B Boys and the breakdancing genre.  To me this the dancing and choreography was very Next Dance Crew and seemed to be focused on the people working as a unit to do some pretty fantastic choreography.  To me it seemed like there were some hints to the older generation and how they are not quite so hip to what it being done by the younger generation and the focus was on the older characters but it was still pretty awesome to watch the dance sequences. 
Battle of the Year stars Laz Alonso as Dante an owner of a hip hop clothing and apparel franchise that is sponsoring the American B Boy team for this years Battle of the Year and he enlists Blake, played by Josh Holloway to be the new coach. He has been wallowing in his own misery for several years because of the death of his wife and son and his friend Dante wants to get him out of it and use his talent to get a winning crew together.  Blake realizes that an intern Franklyn, played by Josh Peck, knows a lot about the current work of B Boying and hires him as his assistant to pull the crew together.  They have a completion to bring their team together and then have to decided who will represent the USA in the battle.  There is the stereotypical strife amongst the boys,  the a girl cant be a part of this (as the choreographer) and the sorrow that Blake is trying to deal with. This movie also starts Chris Brown as one of the B Boys and many, many, many, amazing dancers as fellow crew members.
This movie was exactly what I thought it would be with was formula story telling, there will be no real surprises in anything that happens or how the movie comes together, much overacting and intensity between the characters, but high production value and amazing dance sequences. They did the thing that I don't like where they would shoot things close up and then cut amongst angles.  I would have liked it better if the shot was wider or more continuous in shot (like in many of the television to today) as I know that these sequences were fantastic and that these dancers are capable of the continuous performances as that is what these crews do in their performances and on television. I was a little worried about how they were going to use Chris Brown as he is not on par with the other guys in the movie and I think they did it well for the movie, but I think that it would have worked just as fine to have anyone play that part as Chris Brown doesn't really seem like a big draw to the movie for me.  I think that those who want to see this movie would see it with or without him in it.
This movie was high intensity and lot of production value, which entertained me throughout.  It is worth seeing for those who like this type of movie or who watch these dance crew competitions.  It is cool seeing it on the big screen but could just as well be watched on television.  Basically if you were interested in seeing it see it, but if any of the movie I mentioned above are not your cup of tea, this movie is not for you.

My Rating: 2-

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