Battle B-Boy (2012)

Posted in Reviews by - March 22, 2014
Battle B-Boy (2012)

A charming, morality-driven underdog film from Californian independents LLR Productions focusing on the trend for ‘da-fi’ (dance-fighting) battle crews, popularised by TV talent shows. The film uses an underground tournament setting to weave in the combative elements and ends up looking like a cross between Step Up and Fight Club. The choreography fits into the contrivances of a made-up breakdancing competition with rules like “fight to the music” and “no brawling”, and given the film’s wholesome nature the resulting action is mostly non-violent. Instead, the film is essentially a succession of sublime acrobatic spectacles highlighting the rhythmical talents of its leading cast – a ragtag crew of b-boys making a living as children’s entertainers. Each carrying their own emotional baggage, the troupe’s leader, Mike (Jae Phan), has an aging father in need of a heart op. Mike quickly befriends streetwise sage Jimmy (John Kreng) – a cross between Simon Cowell and Mr Miyagi – who acts as a band manager and patriarchal figure for Mike and his buddies as they enter into a dance-off competition with a hefty cash prize. The money would do them all the world of good, with each of them facing challenging back-stories of X Factor proportions: a dead father, an estranged father, a sister in a wheelchair and so on. The film’s positivity and great dance sequences masks a lot of the cliches and make it an entertaining watch, particularly for younger viewers.

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