WARNING:THIS REVIEW IS RIFE WITH SPOILERS AND AS STUPID AS IT SOUNDS EVERYTHING MENTIONED IN HERE DOES IN FACT HAPPEN IN THIS MOVIE.
Its hard for me to write this let alone form the actual idea in my head but I may just have found a movie to rival Tommy Wiseau’s THE ROOM for the title of “Best Worst Movie….Ever”. Sam Firstenberg the auteur who brought us both the American Ninja and Cyborg Cop series tussles for the top spot with his 1984 breakdancing classic.
Now before I dive in I want to clear a few things up, first I am a huge Hip Hop head and I do have a soft spot for street dancing and on that level the movie is actually really good. It’s filled with tightly performed and authentic street step’s but other than that this movie is pretty horrendous… in a good way. Although released less than seven months after its predecessor Breakin’ 2 takes place (I think?!) a few weeks after the first movie. The street dance team of TKO (Turbo, Ozone and Special “Kelly” K) have successfully danced their hearts out in their breakthrough stage show Street Jazz. Kelly with the help of her agent is advancing her career, while Turbo and Ozone have moved back for some reason into their street shack/garage/converted bedroom. When they’re not busting out moves in their little cosy getaway complete with one single bed this charming duo are sporting outfits turned up to 11 and helping out at the local community centre “Miracles”. Miracles is a place where the street kids can hang out when they’re not rocking to the beats in their local night club/shit hole Radio Tron. Which, like any good night club should look like an empty village hall where Ice T dressed as a medieval knight from out of space is dropping some fresh raps for the kids. At Miracles about five kids are learning to box and the rest of the neighbourhood are there to dance, all of whom are under the guidance of a slow speaking (possibly drunk) mentor who is consistently projecting dialogue ripped from your average blaxpoitation movie.
However Miracles like every other community centre featured in every other movie ever made has become the pet project of a rich white property developer. Who in this flick comes in the form of Mr Douglass (Peter Maclean) who is breaking convention and stereotype by drafting blueprints for a shopping mall to be placed where Miracles stands. Not one to have their hang out taken away from them its up to Turbo (Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers) Ozone (Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones) Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) and the rest of the neighbourhood to pop and lock their way to the required $200,000 needed to save the community centre. It’s established within the first half hour that they will raise the money by putting on a dance festival featuring all the naturally gifted kids in the neighbourhood. But rather than get cracking with that idea and focusing their energy into getting the cash together first they must take us on a spiritual journey. A pilgrimage if you like, filled with spontaneous dance numbers with no reason to them other than to buffer out time between the multitude of sub plot lines that make up the majority of the film. Its hear we’re introduced to Kelly’s rich white parents and her one time law student fiancee neither of whom were even mentioned in the first film and who have no tolerance for the “street people” Kelly hangs out with. And then theres Kelly and Ozone’s relationship, which is never ever explained. Are they dating? Were they dating?Did Ozone once have a relationship with the frizzy haired stalker who keeps giving Kelly the stink eye? Is Kelly even aware of the overtly homoerotic relationship Ozone has with Turbo? Who himself is embroiled in his own love story with a badly dubbed Hispanic dancer. Who at one point appears out of a cupboard to deliver a magic kiss to Turbo which not only wakes him up from what seems like the worlds shortest coma but also fully heals his broken leg. Mind you if he hadn’t have ran off with that construction workers lunch and hadn’t had his considerably taller stunt double roll down a set of stairs he wouldn’t be in the hospital to begin with. However if all of the above hadn’t have happened we wouldn’t have been blessed with the dance number in the hospital which see’s our b boy hero surrounded by sexy nurses and severely handicapped patients jumping out their wheelchairs to bust moves left right and centre.
But all of this madness, all of the shocking dialogue and all of the dead eyed acting leads us to one inevitable moment. The dance showcase referenced in the first third of the movie, the big finale which is done to show the world the importance of the community centre and to show us the audience that the producers spent about 35% of the movies budget on pink and green tracksuits, cut off t shirts and hats. Overpowered by the magic of dance Kelly’s rich white parents (who are watching the dance showcase at home on a TV no bigger than a fist) alongside the slimey property developer Mr Douglass have their moral compass realigned by some sweet backspins. They decide to donate the rest of the money and save the community centre so that future generations can find themselves in the thick of gang warfare, where gruelling rivalries are contested with camp dance routines and the twirling of dustbin lids.
Some people may tell you to stay away from Electric Boogaloo, but some people are wrong. Breakin 2 is not a movie about dancing, its not even a movie about dancing in the ghetto. Its a life affirming evaluation of all thats wrong with the world. The hypocrisy of rich people, the fickle nature of parenthood, the unbreakable bond between long socks, short shorts and men with moustaches are all just side notes in a much bigger picture. A tale of love, montages and more bright colours that a double rainbow blowing up in your face. Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo is a harrowing story that defies the odds and makes you think, seriously…what the fuck is this?