Directed by Joel Silberg (Breakin’) and Sam Firstenberg (Breakin’ 2)
Starring: Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quiones, Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers
“2x The Poppin’, 2x The Lockin’!” That is the tagline on the box of the Blu Ray for two of the best/worst films ever made. Dare I call them the bad dance films that have sparked the wonderful stream of wonderfully awful dance movies that some of us love so much today. Several years ago, a friend of mine, knowing my love for the 80’s, hip hop dance, and awful movie musicals, introduced me to Breakin’. After the film was finished, he said with a twinkle in his eye, “And there’s a Breakin’ 2.” Sadly, I could not find Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo until now. Obviously, when CultureSmash.tv got the Shout! Factory! Blu Ray, I leapt at the chance to review both Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Let’s start with the magical film that started it all: Breakin’. We start with a young jazz dancer, Kelly, who has come from a very privileged family. She has every opportunity in the world but just wants to dance. She’s in these jazz classes, complete with neon leggings and thong leotards, with this teacher who thinks that he’s everything and a bag of chips. Her very flamboyant dancer friend takes her to a street dance-off, where she meets Ozone and Turbo, our other protagonists. She dances for them, and wins the two over. They give her the street name of Special K. We can tell that Ozone has a little thing for Special K.
Already, you see what kind of movie this is going to be. Everything is terrible: the acting, the script, the cinematography. The only thing that is decent is the danc-ing, except when “Special K” tries to break. It looks like when the whitest of my white girl friends who were super duper trained in ballet, try to break it down. But in this film, it her white girl dancing works to their advantage.
Eventually Special K leaves her pretentious jazz teacher and joins Ozone and Turbo’s crew to form the dance crew “TKO.” Now, they must defeat their rivals, fellow dance crew “Electro Rock.” Cue the montage of Special K learning her new moves to one of my favorite Chaka Khan tunes, “Ain’t Nobody.” Holy Moth Balls Batman, do I love a learning dance montage from the 80’s. But all the while, Kelly has procured a really great agent, Christopher McDonald, whom I will always know as Louie from cheesy Rom Com classic, Chances Are. He’s in her corner and trying to get her good work, but all Kelly wants to do is be a street dancer. Finally, he finds a show where all three can dance together, but no one will let them audition. Can they all remain friends, beat “Electro Rock,” and nail this impossible audition? You’re gonna have to watch to find out.
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, is more of the same. We pick up with the crew, right where we left off, but this time we insert the classic storyline, “Let’s Put on a Show to Save our Theater.” Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney did it… and heck, they’re still doing it, with movies like Honey, another awful dance movie that I own. Kelly is dancing professionally now in what looks like some sort of review with beaded leotards and feathered hats. Ozone and Turbo are now teaching at the inner city recreational center, called Miracles. Saddly, Miracles is the perfect spot for some mean ol’ tycoon’s new shopping center. The crew must find a way to raise the money and save Miracles. And what better way to save a school than to have a large fund-raiser show?
So, now, you not only get awesome dance sequences from “TKO” but also from these crazy kids. I was a little saddened to see that you never get to know any of the kids that well, but I’m not gonna split hairs on a film with the best title ever. And instead of Turbo dancing with a broom this time (as he did in the first film), he dances on the ceiling!! I do appreciate that the creators really took into ac-count the dance films of the 1950’s, because they are re-creating Fred Astaire dance sequences with hip hop. I love every second of it.
Nothing has become better, in fact, I think it got worse! The dialogue is even more forced, if that’s even possible. My favorite is when Ozone’s ex-girlfriend corners Kelly in the club with her Whitney Houston wannabe crew and tells her that if she wants to “keep her face pretty to stay away from her man.” HA! My other favorite comes from Turbo’s new girlfriend, who is some sort of latin dancer who also does a little hip hop. Not even joking. At one point, she says, “Me No Inglas!” Not “No Hables Ingles,” “Me No Inglas.” Thank goodness she was pret-ty!
These films are a snapshot in time. They really capture a certain side of what this decade was all about, with a lot of flash, a lot of cheese, and a little bit of Ice T. I would highly recommend these films to any 80’s nostalgia nerd, dancer, or anyone who loves awesomely awful cinema. “Push it to pop it! Rock it to lock it! Break it to make it!”
Although the films have been restored to 1080p High- Definition Wide Screen, it still keeps the grit of the originals. You’re not going to get a beautiful restoration like Ghost-busters, which came out the same year, but that’s kind of the charm of this film. The Breakin’ films are time machines. While watching you can almost smell the Baby Soft Perfume as you chew your tangy tropical Bubble Tape. But all joking aside, I’ve seen the VHS, and the quality on the Blu Rays are much better. The colors are brighter and the picture is clearer. Just don’t expect a masterpiece… although you shouldn’t be ex-pecting that from these films anyhow.
It’s really more of the same. The audio has also been restored in DTS-HD, and the au-dio is indeed clearer, but the sound still screams low budget film. The soundtrack for both of these films is incredible, though. I’ve already said how much I LOVE the dance montage in the first film to “Ain’t Nobody,” and the theme songs to both films are so ter-rible/ incredible. At the end of the second film, they bring the singer onscreen to “sing” the song while they are having their fundraiser to save the recreational center. Neither of these films will be delivering a Dirty Dancing soundtrack that will stand the test of time, but if you want a good laugh and a good little dance as well, look no further.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging is some of the best I’ve seen. Obviously poking fun at itself, the two film posters are displayed on the front with the tagline “2x The Poppin, 2x The Lockin” right up above them. On the back are the CORNIEST stills from the film and quite the de-scription of the two, including the statement that Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo is “un-questionably the greatest film (title) of all time.” HAHAHA! If you open up the case, you see that the plastic is see through, and you get a little more artwork for each film.
The bonus features are pretty darn spectacular. You get two documentaries on the cul-ture and origins of hip hop. They are both educational, but can err on the corny side sometimes. You get a “Living Legends Montage,” which is pretty much the subjects of the short documents in some sort of dance montage. It’s not my favorite but works for what it is. Probably, the crown jewel of the entire set of bonus features is the commen-tary from Director Sam Firstenberg, Editor Marcus Manton, and Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones, yes Ozone himself!! I want to laugh the entire time while listening to the crew, but I really loved hearing Adolfo talk about the process of creating these films, and the hip hop scene in the 1980’s. I had no idea, but dude was 31 years old when he made these films!! Damn! I wish that there could have been more behind the scenes footage from the movies, or I would have LOVED some tutorials on how to do some of the break dancing moves. All in all though, a pretty darn good package.
Overall (Not an Average)
I laughed. I cried. I watched and re-watched the dance sequences so that I could get some of these break dancing moves down. I seriously love these films, and I think that Shout! Factory! did a wonderful job of restoring the two, and bringing them together in this slick package. So, get your high tops and harem pants on and get ready for the cheesiest ride of your life. You just got Boogaloo-ed!