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Battle of the Year

Battle Of The Year

In Theatres: 
Sep 20, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 49 Minutes

Some of the Dream Team crew use their actual nicknames. I.E Do Knock, Flipz.

Every year, the world's greatest street dancers fight for a spot to compete in the Battle of the Year, a showcase of some of the best B-Boy's the world has to offer. Year after year, the Koreans prove themselves to be a dominating force, while America suffers the blow of losing 15 years in a row. Disgusted that the home of B-Boying hasn't won in over a decade, hip-hop mogul Dante (Laz Alonso) hires his down-and-out ex-dance partner, Jason Blake (Josh Holloway), to coach a team of dancers that can bring home the BOTY trophy. Having led a basketball team to the championships, Blake (nicknamed W.B, which I'll get to later) knows how to bring young men together to create a team but has left the world of B-Boying behind long ago. Deciding to take the challenge, Blake and his team of hand-picked dancers, including Do Knock (Jon Cruz) and Rooster (Chris Brown), live the next 3 months inside an abandoned juvenile detention facility, fiercely preparing themselves for the Battle of the Year. They may have the talent and the determination, but do they truly stand a chance against the Koreans?

Battle of the Year, from the get-go, is aggravatingly dumb. The tone set here is so dramatic that you'd think lives were on the line. We're introduced to Dante as an infamous Hip-Hop Dancing Icon who has called an embarrassingly important conference over his groundbreaking idea to hire a good coach to lead his team of dancers to the championship. Don't worry, it gets worse. After deciding to hire Blake (nicknamed W.B due to his white skin and ability to dance as well as African Americans earning him the nickname of WonderBread...ugh..) solely based on their previous friendship, Blake drops another groundbreaking idea of building a team of the best dancers in the U.S to create a "Dream Team". Here on out, you can pretty much guess the lines of dialogue before the characters even open their mouths. Before the 5 minute mark, we've already gotten Blake to deliver the horribly cliche' "I'm not that man anymore" and by the end delivers the obligatory "I came to make a team, but in the end, the team made me" speech. Each one as groan worthy as the last.

The remainder of Battle of the Year consists of characters hating each other for no reason and then abandoning said reason because "we're a team". Thanks to the casting talents of one Twinkie Bird (not kidding), the kids mostly hold their own in terms of acting. First and foremost, they are here to dance and showoff their B-Boy abilities and that comes across pretty fast, but they all do a better job than Laz Alonso so I'm willing to forgive. Mixed into the group is the crowd-favorite Chris Brown as Rooster. Chris Brown spends 3/4's of his screentime picking fights with Do-Knock over a girl neither of them are currently dating and the other 1/4th showcasing his skills at dancing. Once again, all great dancers whose main struggle was bringing some form of drama to the screen. They do enough to bring their points across, but not much further than that. Then there's Josh Peck, who plays Franklyn, an avid hip-hop lover who could never compete because he's Jewish. Alright. Franklyn is there to help Blake with the slang, relating to his students and with the choreography. In reality, he's there for comedic relief, which Peck delivers in spades, but enough to where it almost bludgeons you over the head that this is the only reason he was cast in Battle of the Year.

Following the popular dancing trend, Battle of the Year is being released in both 2D and 3D, with the latter being the format in which I screened. It's clear that the aerial dancing is what is meant to help showcase the 3D, but someone forgot to mention that to Director Benson Lee, who doesn't dare capture any unique shot that would make the dancers jump out of the screen. There's the usual scene (or 20) of dancers throwing their hands at the camera to help you realize Battle of the Year is actually in 3D, but it does nothing but make you wish you didn't drop an extra $4 on the indoor sunglasses. If you enjoyed You Got Served but wished you could wear a pair of Wal-mart brand Oakley's during it, Battle of the Year 3D is the theater experience for you.

Boring, cliche' and unable to laugh at itself, Battle of the Year is one of the worst movies of the year yet still manages to throw in some decent dancing acts from time to time. Now excuse me while I go petition for Josh Peck to quit these horrible movies and star in the horrible movie everyone wants to see, Drake & Josh: The Movie.

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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