* * *
Directed by: Joel Silberg
Starring: Lucina Dickey, Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quinones, Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers, Ben Lokey, Christopher McDonald, Ice-T, and Jean-Claude Van Damme
Those of you who read this site regularly know that, aside from the
usual action fare, we will review a classic 80’s dance movie from time
to time. Well, they don’t get any more classic than Breakin’, a gem of a
movie that is well known for good reason.
(Dickey) is a waitress who is an aspiring dancer. Strictly by chance,
she witnesses the street dancing of Ozone (Quinones) and his buddy Turbo
(Chambers) and her life is changed forever. She befriends the two, and
just in the nick of time. A dance crew comprised of two men and one
woman, the Electro Rock crew, has challenged them to a dance-off. But
Ozone and Turbo must teach Kelly, now dubbed Special K, the ways of
Now shed of her formal dance training, she goes to her
agent James (McDonald) for his support. He is reluctant at first, but
once he sees TKO, as they
are now called (“Turbo, Kelly and Ozone”, get it?), he is
won over. Plus a potential love rivalry between James, Ozone, and
Kelly’s former dance instructor Franco (Lokey) is making Kelly’s life
even more complicated, as is Ozone’s hot temper and his loyalty to “the
streets”. Will TKO pop and lock their way to fame?
nothing more than infectious, irresistible fun. It’s filled with charm
and 80’s nostalgia, thanks to the music and clothing. There’s plenty of
creativity on display in the dance moves and the outfits. Plus it’s
positive. It really celebrates friendship and the can-do spirit. It
comes from a time when battles were fought on the dance floor with
moves, not on the streets with weapons. They truly don’t make ‘em like
this anymore. That’s why people gravitate to movies like this today.
Because they are not making any more of them.
is a Cannon film, a young Van Damme can be seen in a crowd scene
clapping along to the beat and smiling away. Naturally, he’s wearing a
black wrestling singlet for no reason. He’s not listed in the credits,
but it’s clearly him. Ice-T makes an appearance as the “Rap Talker” at
the club Radiotron. His role would be highlighted a bit more in the
follow-up film. Plus, this brings into focus that this movie isn’t that
far of a departure from the action films we normally watch. A Cannon
movie featuring Van Damme, Christopher McDonald and Ice-T is pretty much
par for the course for us. But instead of fight scenes, there are dance
scenes, and the training sequences are to learn dance moves, not
fighting moves. Two sides of a coin I tell ya.
To compare this
to some other movies we have on the site, Ben Lokey as Franco is very
Roy Kieffer-like as the dance instructor, recalling Dance or Die (1987), the
whole clash of “high” and “low”
cultures aspect is also explored in Knights of the City (1985), and, while the
soundtrack is good and vitally important, we felt the soundtrack to
Body Rock (1984) was better because it had more memorable songs.
Director Joel Silberg
went on to direct Rappin’ (1985) as well as Lambada (1990), so we know where his head
is at. He did not go on to direct the Breakin’ sequel however. But
after Breakin’ ends, there is a big on-screen announcement: “Coming
Soon: Electric Boogaloo: The Dance Sensation of Tomorrow”. So they knew
then that there would be a sequel. There’s just too much energy to be
contained in one movie.
It’s colorful, fun, funny, and even
heartwarming. What’s not to like? Anyone who hasn’t already seen
Breakin’ definitely should.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett