BREAKIN’ / BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Studio: Shout Factory
BY KEVIN CARR
While there are some people who prefer to have their DVDs and Blu-rays come with one movie per disc, I’m cool with bundling two films onto a single disc in the right situation. The “Breakin’” movies totally work for this, as they came out within a year from each other and essentially work as a one-two punch of 80s silliness. It’s the west coast answer to “Beat Street” and the brand of movies that eventually evolved into the “Step-Up” series. Now, it’s more about nostalgia than about quality filmmaking.
The other thing that lends these two films to be bundled together in a single release is the fact that “Breakin’” has only its trailer as a special feature (a feature that is also available for the second feature). Sure, some of the background videos of the hip-hop dance culture could work for either movie, but they are included on the bonus features menu of “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” These include “The Elements of Hip Hop,” “The Culture of Hip Hop,” “Shout Outs” and “Living Legends Montage.” Unfortunately, while these segments give a real-life history of the movement, they are pretty low-rent in their production value and make things look much more dour with overly laid-back attitudes and dimly lit locations.
There’s also a commentary on “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” which features director Sam Firstenberg, actor Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones and editor Marcus Manton.
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
Lucinda Dickey as KELLY/SPECIAL K
Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones as OZONE/ORLANDO
Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as TURBO/TONY
Ben Lokey as FRANCO
Christopher McDonald as JAMES
Directed by: Joel Silberg
I actually remember when this film came out in the summer of 1984. Hitting theaters a month before “Beat Street” (which was the east coast version of the breakdancing movie this selection from the west coast… see that coastal rivalry goes back a long way), “Breakin’” was riding the wave of breakdancing. Of course, this was the suburban-friendly version of hip-hop the same way that MC Hammer was ten years later.
Still, “Breakin’” was meant to be nothing more than some fun. It’s hardly a deep story, and the acting elements in the film aren’t exactly top notch. However, the movie has a certain entertainment value, especially considering its place in cinema history.
“Breakin’” tells the story of Kelly (Lucinda Dickey), a young dancer in L.A. who gets caught up with a crowd of hip-hop dancers. She finds a sudden camaraderie with them and takes to their new style of dancing. Kelly has to learn to take her classical training and high-end Broadway ambitions and use them with her new dancing skills to break out into the performance world.
“Breakin’” follows the story of a young artist trying to make it big in the entertainment world. We’ve seen these kinds of films going all the way back to “A Star Is Born” and before. Heck, even the old backyard musicals with Judy Garland / Mickey Rooney in the 1930s and 1940s followed this general story route. However, this formulaic storyline, applied to the world of street dancing worked. Plus, the dance sequences are pretty cool to watch, especially for an 80s flashback.
BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Lucinda Dickey as KELLY
Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones as OZONE
Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers as TURBO
Susie Bono as RHONDA
Harry Caesar as BYRON
Jo De Winter as MRS. BENNETT
John Christy Ewing as MR. BENNETT
Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
It is impossible to enter into any discussion about “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” without acknowledging that this is probably the greatest name to a sequel that has ever been given in the history of cinema. It is strangely one of the most recognizable subtitles of a film, even if relatively few people have seen the movie.
As I did with “Breakin’,” I remember when “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” came out in theaters, a mere seven months after its predecessor. It’s not terribly surprising considering the movie itself wasn’t exactly effects heavy, and the location and production needs were pretty minimal. I actually applaud the filmmakers for pushing the movie out so quickly.
Unlike “Breakin’,” “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” abandons the idea of young kids getting famous with their art and circles the wagons with a story about them trying to save a community center. Of course, this story is just as cliche as the first, but that’s never the point with these movies. They’re meant to entertain and show of some cool dance moves.
Still, we’re treated with the stale elements like a greedy land developer, a block party to save the community center, rival dance gangs goading the heroes into a dance rumble and the return of Kelly’s bitter rich parents who want her to stop with all of this breakdancing nonsense.
“Electric Boogaloo” takes more liberties with reality, featuring on-the-spot dance numbers (including a ceiling dance that apparently happens in the reality of the film rather than just in Turbo’s head as a tribute to Fred Astaire) and logic points that only hold up in episodes of Scooby-Doo.
Still, like the first film, “Electric Boogaloo” can be fun to check your brain out, wax nostalgic about the 80s and watch some cheesy-but-entertaining dance footage.