Review: Battle of the Year (2014)

For Filmink: Battle of the Year is a string of cliches, stock characters and unbearable melodrama.

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Year: 2013
Rating: PG
Director: Benson Lee
Cast: Terrence Jenkins , Chris Brown, Josh Holloway, Josh Peck
Release Date: April 10, 2014
Distributor: Universal Sony Pictures
The Film: 2.0

“…a string of cliches, stock characters and unbearable melodrama.”

Battle of the Year is an annual international competition in which nations compete in b-boying tournaments, a style of break dancing. Spurning the popular documentary Planet B-Boy from director Benson Lee, this film adaptation is loosely based on the documentary, with Lee returning to the directing chair. Hip-hop magnate Dante Graham (Laz Alonso) enlists alcoholic coach Jason Blake (Josh Holloway) and assistant Franklyn (Josh Peck) to assemble the b-boy dream team to win back the trophy for the USA after losing for 15 consecutive years.

Unfortunately the adaptation isn’t as compelling as the documentary that came before (they reference Planet B-Boy in the film as their “Bible”). It’s a familiar formula, with the ragged crew of cocky street dancers overcoming their differences and learning to work as a team, with the dance film burgeoning on a sports movie. There is little character development and, surprisingly, there are few dance sequences. The script is incredibly clunky and while Holloway and Peck try their hardest, the rest of the acting is below par. Despite the reasonable dancing scenes and passable acting by singer Chris Brown, the rest of Battle Of The Year is a string of clichés, stock characters and unbearable melodrama.

Originally published on FilmInk Magazine online, April 11, 2014.

Watch the trailer for Battle of the Year below:



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