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Planet B-Boy (2007)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 841 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 5 user | 32 critic | 13 from Metacritic.com

Jumping continents and crossing cultures, "Planet B-Boy" looks at the history of breakdancing and its vibrant resurgence in urban cultures around the world.

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Storyline

Think breakdancing died in the eighties? Think again. PLANET B-BOY is a feature-length, theatrical documentary that re-discovers one of the most incredible dance phenomena the world has ever seen. Originally known as "B-boying", breakdancing was an urban dance form that originated from the streets of New York City during the seventies. Along with Emceeing, Graffiti and DJing, B-boying served as one of the crucial elements in the birth of hip-hop culture in America. Through the help of movies like Flashdance, Breakin', and Beatstreet, breakdancing took the country by storm, and teenagers across America were spinning on their backs doing "windmills" and training their bodies to "pop and lock." Like most dance fads, however, breakdancing eventually faded into the annals of pop culture history. Three decades later, B-boying is back in full force and has evolved into an art form, reaching a level never seen before. The basic moves from the early eighties have developed into a highly ... Written by Benson Lee

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Breakdancing has evolved


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21 March 2008 (USA)  »

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Features Flashdance (1983) See more »

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Little While
Written by Flavio Lichtenthal
Performed by Flavio Lichtenthal and Adam Matta
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User Reviews

 
B-Boying all over the world
30 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This documentary focuses on five of the finalist teams sent to the Battle of the Year in Germany, an international b-boy ("breakdancing") competition where the world's best b-boy team is crowned. For the uninitiated, the doc starts with an overview of hip-hop and b-boying in particular as one of the four legs of hip-hop culture (tagging, scratching, rapping and b-boying) along with its evolution. Then we taken into an overview of the Battle of the Year competition.

After that lightning-fast introduction, the documentary settles on the five teams: Phase-T representing France, Ichigeki representing Japan, Knucklehead Zoo representing the USA and two teams, Gamblerz and Last for One, representing South Corea. Featuring a number of interviews with the various team members as well as dance sequences in a number of attractive backdrops, the doc settles in on three stories prominently, one about the little white kid member of the mostly North African adult team of Phase-T and his hobby overcoming his parents' racism as well as two stories within Ichigeki and Last for One dealing with strained relationships between disapproving fathers and sons eager to win over their fathers' admiration.

Finally, the doc gets to the Battle of the Year, where individual stories are cut against the teams as they prepare for the big competition and finally an extended showcase from the Battle of the Year. The film does a good job of building up the story so that when it unleashes the dance competition at the end, you're anticipating it. The individual stories, especially of Last for One and Ichigeki especially cause you to root for those two teams and it was harder to build sympathy for the other teams.

Those that don't enjoy the dancing might find this film more tedious, but the explanation of b-boying and the various stylistic differences between the countries that are explained helped give something to look for during the competition and the exploratory dance sequences. Planet B-Boy stands somewhere between, depending on your perspective, being a puff piece and an enthusiastic glance into the world of b-boying internationally. This is not a sociological study of influence of hip-hop internationally and is very much focused on five teams and the Battle of the Year competition.

All in all, the doc is enjoyable, even if a little light, and helped me get a better understanding of b-boying. I wish it was more in-depth, either into the history and world of b-boying or into the stories of each crew, but it already had enough packed into its relatively tight 101-minute running time. Recommended for the curious, for hip-hop lovers, for dance lovers, for people interested in transnational cultural exchange and, surprisingly, sports fans. 8/10.


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