Movie Review: "Battle of the Year"
Rating: PG-13 (language and some rude behavior)
Length: 109 minutes
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2013
Directed by: Benson Lee
Stars: 3 out of 5
"Battle of the Year" is a great movie for people who enjoy music, dancing, and triumph. Director Benson Lee, who also directed "Miss Monday" and "Planet B-Boy," stuck to his trend of creating a dance movie that also has an inspiring message of teamwork and dedication. The dancing is amazing, the acting is decent, and the audience may be surprised to know that this film is inspired by a real worldwide annual dance competition in France.
Dante has a love of hip-hop dance, or B-Boy dance, that runs deep in his veins. He is a sensational dancer who has a lot of pride for the sport as well as an appreciation for the artistry of it. Played by Laz Alonso of "Avatar" and "Fast & Furious" fame, Dante Graham is ready for the yearly Battle of the Year dance crew competition, but he's disappointed that the Americans haven't taken home the trophy in fifteen years. Since America put the sport of hip-hop dancing on the map, he wants to bring this year's trophy home to where it all started.
Time is not on Dante's side. He has only three months to find a dream team of the twelve best dancers in the United States. He also has to find a coach, but not just any coach will do. Former championship basketball coach Jason Blake, who believes that any team can be champions with the right coach, leads this US dance crew. Josh Holloway acts like this role was meant for him. He has the perfect combination of a rough coach personality and good looks. The audience will remember Josh Holloway as Sawyer in the epic TV show "Lost."
Other familiar faces in "Battle of the Year" include 2012 Grammy winner Chris Brown and "Red Dawn" and "Drake & Josh" actor Josh Peck. These great actors lend their experience to support the rest of the crew, and their work pays off. Audiences may be surprised at how well the actors play their roles, but with a movie this passionate, it's easy for people to connect with the characters. But don't think that "Battle of the Year" is just like every other B-Boy dance movie. This film has substance, and it's fun.
Of course, a drama isn't a drama without conflict, and it's not surprising that this film's main conflict occurs between a few members of the US B-Boy dance crew. It seems like creating an award-winning dance routine for the impending championship is impossible for this mish-mash group of dancers from across the nation.
A dance movie isn't a dance movie unless it comes with amazing dance sequences that will have the audience staring in disbelief. Surprisingly, the film doesn't have as many dance scenes as most people would expect, but the ones in the movie are nothing short of incredible. This is the stuff that people hope to see when they watch a dance movie. The dance steps in "Battle of the Year" are nothing short of magical, and some of them may leave audience members staring with disbelief. With the option of paying a little extra to see the movie in 3D, filmgoers are in control of how they want to view this feel-good movie. The 3-D effects in a dance movie may not be the same as what you'd see in a science-fiction film, but they give the audience the perspective of being right there with the dance crew.
Using the skills he learned creating a documentary about B-Boy dancing, Benson Lee created this entertaining movie about American B-Boy dancers, spreading awareness about an amazing talent that is shared among a relatively small number of people throughout the entire world. "Battle of the Year" is a September release that is worth seeing, be it at a discount matinee or as a rental. The audience will laugh with and cheer on the dance crew every step of the way to the top. This film is a welcome break from everyday life, and it's perfect for the times a person just wants to enjoy a fun flick.