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You can’t always anticipate where inspiration of any kind will come from, if we could we’d miss some pretty great stuff. The progenitor of the modern dance movie that helped to put hip hop music and dancing on the pop culture map, Breakin’ & Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo are now together on one Blu-Ray set to enjoy, and while I can’t honestly say that the movies are any good, in rewatching them now in glorious High Def, they have a cultural importance that simply can’t be ignored.
Breakin’ takes us to the streets as Kelly (Lucinda Dickey), unhappy with her life in a traditional dance studio takes a risk and learns the moves of the street under the tutelage of Ozone and Turbo (Adolfo Quinones & Michael Chambers), in spite of her disapproving dance instructor who wants her for more than her talent and becomes a poppin’ and lockin’ dancing queen under her own terms.
In Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo the gang reunites in an almost classic movie musical fashion in order to save their local community center from destruction by a greedy land developer.
While I will be the first to admit that these movies aren’t the best, they did modernize the dance movie genre and films like the Step Up franchise unquestionably owe these movies a debt of gratitude for paving the way for the music and the culture.
Breakin’ is unquestionably the stronger in the franchise as it serves as an earnest introduction the music and style of the streets at the time and it painted a serious and genuine portrait, alongside the struggles that were faced in the dance community who eschewed anything that was even remotely no traditional.
Directors Joel Silberg and Sam Firstenberg who did the first and second installments respectively knew how to keep the action moving at a crisp pace and while the first movie actually had more of an impact because it had something to say, the second was rushed production that felt haphazard and slapped together due to the success of the first.
The year 1984 was unquestionably the best career year for Lucinda Dickey as Breakin’, Breakin’ 2 7 Ninja III made her a cult star. Not much happened after these movies for her, but she carries the screen with an absolute ease and beauty which makes her performances in these movies so memorable to this day. Both Adolfo Quinones & Michael Chambers only had a handful of credits to their names after these movies but all three of them managed to create an infectious spirit while they were on stage together. Sure they weren’t great films (and really Breakin’ 2 is just a special kind of goofy) no one can genuinely deny their earnest energy and flat out fun that is being seen again films.
Ultimately, both Breakin’ & Breakin’2: Electric Boogaloo are movies that have survived in the pop culture canon because they gave legitimacy and birth to hip hop and more of a global scale and they are just plain and simple flat out fun to watch and have fun with.
Breakin’: 3.5 stars
Breakin’2: Electric Boogaloo: 2.5 stars
Picture and sound quality on both of these high def transfers are very good and the special features include a new commentary track, some featurettes on the birth of hip hop and the original theatrical trailer.