Battle of the Year is based on a real-life, international dance competition held annually in France; the story was inspired by the documentary Planet B-Boy. Director Benson Lee was at the helm for both films. In Battle he does a nice job of keeping the story moving along, often utilizing multiple screens to break up rehearsal sequences. I saw the 3D version, which added depth to the dance sequences without ever being too much ‘in your face’.

Would I recommend Battle of the Year? I believe I would. It contains likeable characters pulling off some jaw-dropping physical feats in an inspirational story. It teaches some valuable lessons about teamwork, too. If the kids leave the theater chanting the Dream Team’s motto “Act like champions. Be champions,” that’s not really a bad thing, is it?

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: One character is a functioning alcoholic frequently shown drinking; others drink wine and beer at dinner and parties. One joke about “trading cigarettes for protection” in reference to staying at a former detention facility with the beat boys.
  • Language/Profanity: sh**, da** (paired with God once, possibly twice), as*, punk, bit**, su**s. Didn’t hear any f-bombs, but many characters and song lyrics were difficult to understand. There may have been a glancing “mo-fo” but it was hard to tell.
  • Sex/Nudity: Man’s bare chest shown. Female character apparently couldn’t find tops that fit; everything she wore was tight, low-cut, and midriff-baring. A reference to a character’s “sister’s husband’s cousin’s mistress.” A throwaway reference to “titties” in a playful, not sexual, way. Woman says “I’m not into boys…I’m into men.” One beat boy tells people he’s gay; another man tells him he prefers the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ option.
  • Violent/Frightening/Intense:  Given the characters involved, the level of training they’re doing, and the stakes at hand, the story is pretty intense the whole time, but more for the characters than the audience. An injury is heard rather than seen; it’s not gory but does crunch in a mildly stomach-churning way. There are several fights ranging from a couple of guys throwing punches to an all-out brawl.

*This Article First Published 9/20/2013