Review: Battle of the Year

Establishing a successful new dance film has been somewhat of a challenge for filmmakers recently with the genre being dominated by the madly successful Step Up series. However, director Benson Lee makes a solid attempt with his B-Boy dance flick, Battle of the Year.

After fading from prominence in the B-Boying (breakdancing) world, coaches Blake (Josh Holloway) and Franklyn (Josh Peck) assemble a top-notch American team to compete in the Battle of the Year competition. With tensions running high between the diverse team, the coaches have a struggle on their hands.

Whilst the narrative sticks to a familiar path of squabbling underdogs coming together as a team and rising up against their fellow competitors, director Benson Lee adds some originality through high octane dance sequences. With the help of choreographer Dave Scott, Battle of the Year features plenty slick and impressive routines performed by the likes of Chris Brown and a variety of dance professionals. These may prove forgettable in the long run, however, at the time it’s hard not to get caught up in the motivational final moments.

The main star of Battle of the Year however, is Josh Holloway – a terrifically underrated actor who never seems to get the big feature film break he deserves. Holloway grounds the picture and seems to have fun playing the tough coach with a soft interior. The actor also has a nice camaraderie with Josh Peck, who provides most of the comic material and Caity Lotz who brings the token sex appeal.

Battle of the Year does not really deviate from the expected conventions of the dance film, yet seems well aware of that. With rousing, well-choreographed dance sequences and some talented performers, Benson Lee has crafted a solidly entertaining dance flick that is likely to go down well with genre fans.


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