Awfully Good: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
Wit the eighth STEP UP sequel shuffling its way to theaters this week, we've got dancing on the mind.
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)
Director: Sam Firstenberg
Stars: Adolfo 'Shabba-Doo' Quinones, Michael 'Boogaloo Shrimp' Chambers, Lucinda Dickey
In order to save their community center from an evil corporate bigwig, a group of rebellious street dancers must put on the show of a lifetime!
Like me, you may have used the term "Electric Boogaloo" to generally poke fun at dumb sequels without actually having watched BREAKIN' 2. This is a mistake. BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO is a glorious collection of the worst of the 1980s.
Out of the hundreds of extras there, why would you feature one who doesn't shave her armpits?
You can't get more 80s cheese than having main characters named Ozone and Turbo, both of whom dress exactly like their monikers suggest. There’s an unending array of parachute pants, decorative headbands, sleeveless midriff shirts and oversized, gaudy jewelry. (And those are the guys!) It’s like MC Hammer had a yard sale on screen. Thankfully, that's only part of the flashback greatness. Everyone in this movie has Jheri curls, even the white folks. You witness people using “juice” as a verb, or saying "wack" and the film's subtitle in serious contexts. It's like the most extreme 80s movie ever made.
Says the guy wearing a headband, chain earring and unbuttoned pants.
While the film is a thinly veiled excuse to showcase people dancing, there is a story—the most clichéd story ever told. The dancers from the first film are now running Miracles, a community center that brings at-risk youth off the street and teaches necessary life skills including how to breakdance and dress funny. Unfortunately the building has major structural issues and unless the teens can raise $200,000, the city will sell Miracles to the supervillain known as Evil White Man. Of course this means putting on one final show– “dancing, juggling, the whole works”—to save their community center. And apparently they also need the money so they can keep buying new outfits, balloons and neon paint to make the building visible from space.
I hope that meant something different in the 80s, otherwise this is no longer a PG movie.
What follows is one of the lamest "fight The Man" stories ever committed to celluloid. The kids storm City Hall to…ask them not to tear down their building. They engage in acts of civil disobedience, like stealing an innocent construction worker's lunchbox. And then, in what clearly served as the inspiration for the Chinese Tiananmen Square protests, the teens dance in front of a line of bulldozers to stop them from tearing down the building. BREAKIN 2 also has time for a couple hilarious subplots as well. Of course there's the rich white girl who’s in to street dancing against the wishes of her well-to-do parents (leading to teenage witticisms like, “It’s my life, Dad!”). But most embarrassing is the kids' unnecessary rivalry with another street dancing gang, the Electros (led by a guy named Strobe.) I haven't seen the first BREAKIN', so I don't know if it's better explained there, but in this movie the two groups occasionally see each other at a club or on the street and then break in to "dance fighting," which is exactly as lame as it sounds. Can you seriously imagine if you stumbled upon two flamboyantly-dressed gangs having a dance off in the streets of downtown LA?
U can't touch this, Fred Astaire.
As far as the dancing is concerned, it must be true what they say…you can’t stop the beat. BREAKIN' 2 takes place in a world where hundreds of dancers can take to the streets and the cops don't care. In fact, they join in, along with random old ladies, postal workers, and young children who apparently don't have parents. (All cars seem to have hydraulics so they can dance too.) Even the laws of physics are overtaken by the rhythm, since one of the main characters dances on the ceiling and walls in an unexplained sequence. But my favorite is the hospital dance scene. One of the main characters laughably falls down the stairs and is next seen in the Emergency Room in traction. He awakens from his coma (via a kiss from the Hispanic girl he likes) and everyone celebrates by taking over the entire hospital with dancing. Doctors and patients join in, pregnant women start popping and locking and a group of hot nurses even bring a man back from the dead on the operating table. THE POWER OF DANCE!
This is the man who wrote "Cop Killer" and stars on "Law and Order: SVU." FYI.
I can’t imagine anybody involved with this movie not being horribly embarrassed by it now. (That includes rapper Ice-T and the guy who played Urkel-Bot on "Family Matters.") It's just an hour and a half of awkward cringing. It makes GYMKATA look graceful.
My dad once told me, "Just wear jeans and a T-shirt. It'll never go out of style and you'll never be embarrassed looking at old photos." He was right.
Hilariously bad line readings and even worse 80s slang.
1) Some of the most embarrassing dancing and rapping scenes.
2) Dance fighting… it's worse than you can imagine.
3) Ozone gives Turbo a lesson on how to pick up girls. Awkward homoeroticism and dancing with dolls ensues.
Aside from Lucinda Dickey not wearing a bra in a couple scenes, nada for the gents. Ladies can enjoy all the chest hair they want.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Someone dances who shouldn’t be (cop, grandma, heart surgeon)
- Somebody uses terrible 80s slang
- The laws of physics and gravity are defied
- Somebody dances in a mask randomly
- Someone looks directly in to the camera
- The clown can only afford make up for a small part of his face
- Someone has hairy armpits
- You spot camel toe (guys included)
Thanks to James and Sara for suggesting this week's movie!