- Movie Rating -

Breakin’ (1984)

| May 4, 1984

Okay, so here’s a 1930s musical plot grafted onto an 80s movie about break dancing.  That’s actually not a bad thing.  How much plot do you need for a movie about break dancing?  If the plot is no good then you have something to fall back on, fortunately I found myself wiggling my shoulders to the music and that’s the true sign that a dance movie is working.

Breakdancing looks complicated.  A dancer is required to break the flow of the natural body and move in a sort of geometric pattern – it’s the ultimate in doing The Robot.  I found it mesmerizing.  Done well, it can look like the kids are creating their own special effects.  Done wrong it can look like they’ve got ants in their pants.  I know which category I would fit in.

The story is as old as the hills.  We meet a beautiful dancer named Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) who is disillusioned by her instructor.  She meets up with a group of street dancers who teach her a new way to move her body – breakdancing.  She is slow to learn but that’s okay, breakdancing takes time and talent, and she’s got both.  The dancers form a team in one of those ‘Hey gang, let’s put on a show’ routines that is the plot of every Mickey and Judy movie from decades ago.

What happens in the story doesn’t really matter.  Yes, there’s a manager who wants to package and sell their style of dance.  Yes, the instructor wants Kelly back.  Yes, there are the detractors who look down the end of their noses at these, these . . . street people!  Yes, there’s the dance competition in which the snooty judge is brought around by the power of breakdancing.

I didn’t care about any of that.  I was mesmerized anytime the kids started to dance.  I like their music.  I like their moves.  I like their clothes.  I like their attitudes.  I like the friendly way in which they approach Kelly and teach her.  And I found myself moving around a bit in my seat imagining if I could do these moves.  I can’t, of course, but it got in my fantasies that maybe I could.  That means that the movie was doings its job.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Musical