Based on director Benson Lee’s documentary about the B-Boying competition of the same name, Battle Of The Year has several clichéd elements deployed together in a single script. There is an ex-basketball coach, Jason Blake, who is leading an exiled life following a personal loss, a businessman, Dante, who wants to bring the competition trophy home, a group of handpicked best B-Boys from across the U.S., ego tussles within the team, inspirational speeches and much more. But will these handpicked best of B-Boys be able to bring home the ‘Battle Of The Year’ trophy, which the nation has been waiting for past 15 years?
The only thing that stands out most in the movie, amidst the arsenal of clichés is: ‘Change how you think, change your life’. This would have made sense if Battle Of The Year would have been dance oriented rather than being a hastily cobbled version of serveral sports movie. Overall the movie is so loosely scripted that even if one replaces the dance sequences with any sport footage, there won’t be any change in the storyline. You’ll never feel the difference and it would still be the same movie.
The script and direction never enabled the characters or the situations to develop enough to keep the audiences interested. All the trials and conflicts, internally and externally, fizzles out much faster before they are established. Stacy (Caity Lotz), the team’s choreographer, establishes a sexual tension when she appears, which vanishes just like she did from the film. Chris Brown‘s confident presence as Rooster interests you but soon enough, even before one realizes, he too conveniently vanishes. In short there is nothing really cool and strong to hold your attention. Also the movie is painstakingly run-of-the mill and easily predictable (except for the climax for which I gave a half star more).
Also the movie attempts to subtly evoke patriotism but fails in doing so. One will realize that irrespective of how passionate one is about dance, using the same in order to arouse patriotic feelings seems ineffective.
All said, the choreography is definitely graceful and sophisticated but falls way too short in establishing a connection with the audiences. The cinematography and editing are worth a mention, specially in the second half of the movie. All the cast acted well even though they had limited screen space. If nothing else, the charming Josh Holloway of the "LOST" series fame may be the only center of attraction for all the female audiences.
Battle Of The Year preaches about ‘passion’ for whatever you do, throughout the movie. But, unfortunately, the creators’ hearts just weren’t in this film and the passion seems to be missing!