Matt Kennedy
Keith Staskiewicz
September 30, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Battle of the Year

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
runtime
109 minutes
Wide Release Date
09/20/13
performer
Laz Alonso, Josh Holloway, Josh Peck
director
Benson Lee
distributor
Sony Pictures Releasing
genre
musical

We gave it a D+

At various points throughout his astoundingly clichéd breakdancing flick Battle of the Year, director Benson Lee has his on-the-outs alcoholic coach (Josh Holloway) gather inspiration by watching Lee’s own 2007 documentary, Planet B-Boy. For his part, Lee seems to have pored over every sports underdog movie of the last twenty years, boiled away all the interesting particulars, and kept whatever dross was left.

From the moment the film’s ”Dream Team” of b-boys begin preparing for the titular international dance competition, it’s all on cruise control: Predictable scenes of in-fighting lead to predictable scenes of reconciliation, and Holloway spends the entire movie either delivering locker-room speeches so saccharine they would kill a diabetic or staring soulfully at the flask of 80-proof character flaw that he carries with him at all times. The actual dancing scenes are occasionally electrifying, if far too sparse, but other than that and the welcome sight of co-star Chris Brown getting clocked in the face, the film barely gets off the ground, much less sticks the landing. D+

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