Battle of the Year
While I have not seen every dance movie ever made, I’ve seen enough to declare that Battle of the Year is one of the worst. Whatever you say about the dramatic messiness of the Step Off movies, the dancing is pretty great, not only in the quality of the steps and choreography but in the way that it is shot. You can actually see the dancing. In Battle of the Year, there’s only one scene that depicts an entire dance routine, and it’s about 90 minutes into the movie. While there’s tons of dancing prior to that great moment, it’s in spurts, focusing on singular tricks or brief, confusingly edited snippets of longer numbers. The result is dance movie that is oddly focused on the story, which is never a good idea. Dante (Laz Alonso), a hip hop mogul, is bummed that Americans have not won the international b-boy competition held in France called Battle of the Year, so he hires an old crew mate – an alcoholic, former basketball coach grieving his dead wife and son – to mold a championship team. Jason (Josh Holloway, falling far, far from Lost) puts together a dream team of egotistical breakdancers and trains them into a force to be reckoned with. In a rare moment of surprise in the plot, they prove that they have become a team with they all defend the honor of the one gay dancer. At the Battle of the Year, they dance against teams from Russia, France, and Korea, and it’s all strangely and unnecessarily patriotic. Even stranger is the presence of Chris Brown, who is supposedly the best dancer on the team, but clearly isn’t, and then somehow doesn’t get to go to the Battle. I assumed it was because Brown’s parole officer wouldn’t let him leave the county.