Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo [50 New-Old Movies for the 51st Year #14]

A couple of months ago, I turned 50 years old!  And to add to all the real life goals and challenges that that brings, I’ve created at least one as it relates to movies and this blog–watch a film I’ve never seen before which cam out in each year of my life (thus the “Old-New” terminology), and then write a bit about it.  This is Post #14.  Spoilers ahead.  

Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

Directed by Sam Firstenberg

Release Date:  December 21, 1994
My age then:  14 years old

What it is about:  Rich girl and dancer Kelly reconnects with her old friends Ozone and Turbo, who are involved with a community centre where underprivileged kids learn to dance. The operation is under threat because of from a greedy land developer, and because of building code violations, requiring the young dancers to find a way to raise a huge amount of money very quickly.

Starring Lucinda Dickey as Kelly, Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones as Ozone, Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as Turbo, Jo de Winter and John Christy Ewing as Kelly’s parents. Ice-T shows up briefly as a rapper.

My impressions of this movie before I watched it:  I remember when this movie was out back in 1984, and my impression then was that it was a waste of time. That based on the fact that I was not into this new breakdancing trend, and that the title was so darn silly.

Reality:  Yeah, pretty much.

I’ve never seen Breakin’, but it actually came out less than eight months before this movie did. I guess it was enough of a hit to earn a quick sequel. And I can understand the decision–it’s definitely a movie that in every way is of its time. The music, the clothes, the jewelry, the hair, and of course, the dancing, it’s all had to come from the mid-80’s. Another year or two and it probably would have been too late.

The story, though, is older than the 80’s and has continued to have a long and cliched life since. Its all about young and poor people who have got heart and soul and a building, and about how the whitest, middle-agest men want to take that away from them in order to build…gasp…a shopping mall! On top that, rich girl Kelly wants to dance but her stuffy daddy disapproves and wants her go to Princeton instead. (It’s actually almost exactly the same as Step Up Revolution, a movie I once watched on a plane, except that in that case, the businessman and the father were the same guy).

But you can have a cliched plot and still have a good movie, if its got engaging characters or inventive humor or legitimate heart. But Breakin’ 2 doesn’t have any of that–the characters are one-note and their relationships devoid of any genuine emotion. The limited conflicts of the film are all easily disposed of, and there’s really nothing of consequence that actually happens. So there’s not much going for the movie aside from the dancing–but even there I find it a bit disappointing. There’s something about breakdancing which doesn’t seem to lend itself to great cinematic choreography, or at least it doesn’t do so here.

The dancing is skilled, however, and there are a couple of inventive sequences, including one in which Turbo repeats Fred Astaire’s old trick of dancing up the walls and on the ceiling.

So…when you get down to it, what did I think?  I’m not a fan, and I don’t think it’s just because I wanted part of the whole breakdancing fan culture (even though I was the perfect age to get into it when this movie came out). It’s good-natured and earnest, but not an actual good movie.

However, it did inspire the title of one of the films that I worked on, so for that I’ll always appreciate it.

See here for the Master List.

2 thoughts on “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo [50 New-Old Movies for the 51st Year #14]

  1. I bought the second one just for this post! It’s not a DVD I want to hold onto, but I got it cheaply so I don’t regret it.

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