Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo

electric boogalooBreakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo  (1984)    TriStar Pictures/Musical-Drama    RT: 94 minutes    Rated PG (mild language)    Director: Sam Firstenberg    Screenplay: Jan Ventura and Julie Reichert    Music: Michael Linn    Cinematography: Hanania Baer    Release date: December 21, 1984 (US)    Starring: Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers, Susie Coelho, Harry Caesar, Jo De Winter, John Christy Ewing, Steve "Sugarfoot" Notario, Sabrina Garcia, Lu Leonard, Ken Olfson, Peter MacLean, Herb Mitchell, Sandy Lipton, William Cort, Ice-T, Martika.    Box Office: $15.1 million (US)     

 Rating: fullstar1fullstar1fullstar1halfstar1

 Somewhat different from its predecessor, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo is more like an old-fashioned movie musical, the type that might feature Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney putting on show for some reason. That's exactly what happens here, the young people put on a show to save their beloved community center from being demolished by a greedy real estate developer who wants to build a dumb old shopping center on that exact spot. They need to raise $50,000 for the necessary renovations that will keep the city from condemning the building and taking back the property which they will turn around and sell to the mean old Mr. Douglas (MacLean). That's it in a nutshell and as you can see, it's a total no-brainer ..... again! It's actually a good movie and in some ways, better than the first movie. Another quickie from the folks at Cannon Films (it was distributed by TriStar Pictures), it was shot in the summer of '84, right after the first movie made a tidy profit at the box office. They actually managed to get Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo into theaters a mere seven months after the original movie. Unfortunately, it made less than half of the first movie's box office take thereby negating the possibility of a Breakin' 3-D. Now that would have been something else, yes?

 There's a few other things going on in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, but first i'd like to address a question that I'm sure many viewers have had on their mind since this first came out ..... what the hell does that title mean? It's never answered in the actual movie, but thanks to some research on the always dependable Wikipedia, I learned that "electric boogaloo" refers to a funk-oriented dance style. Over the years, it's become a derogatory phrase for sequels, like English Patient 2: Electric Boogaloo. Now that would definitely be one of those rare cases of the sequel being better than the original. LOL! So what else is going on in Breakin' 2? Let's see, it turns out Kelly (Dickey), aka Special K, comes from a wealthy family and her father disapproves of the life she's leading. He wants her to go to law school and get back together with her uptight ex-fiancee. Meanwhile, Ozone (Quinones) has feelings for Kelly and he starts to pursue a romantic relationship with her. Inexperienced Turbo (Chambers) falls for a young cutie named Rhonda (Bono). Kelly has a chance to go to Paris and realize her dream of stardom, but it would conflict with her commitment to the community center where she's just started teaching dance classes. There's a scene where everybody from the community center shows up at a  town meeting to plead their case before the uptight politicians. Oh yeah, Electro Rock is still around looking to challenge Ozone and Turbo to a dance battle. It's a bunch of predictable situations and we all know exactly how things will turn out in the end. Ask yourself this, did Frankie and Annette (and the gang) ever fail at any of their endeavors? Why should it be any different for a gang of similarly clean-cut urban youngsters?

breakdance2 Once again, I don't think the audience cares so much about the plot, they want to see some fresh breaking! Breakin' 2 has lots of that and more! You see, in this movie, EVERYBODY dances! It isn't just the young breakers, everybody gets into the act. The opening number has the kids from the community center breaking through the streets of L.A. as they take the visiting Kelly to their community center. That's when we make the startling discovery that everybody in this neighborhood knows how to bust a move ..... cops, telephone repairmen, meter readers, elderly women, EVERYBODY! Must be something in the water. There's a sequence in a hospital where doctors, nurses and patients boogie through the halls with walkers, gurneys and beds. I'm not so sure that the surgeons should have interrupted their procedure to take part in the festivities outside the operating room. Even though the patient survives, I'm seeing a huge malpractice lawsuit. At one point, the youngsters stop the bulldozers approaching the building by breaking in front of and on top of the huge vehicles. My favorite number has Turbo paying homage to Fred Astaire by breaking on the walls and ceiling of his room. Breakin' 2 is pure fun! It has a detestable villain, a bunch of fuddy-duddy adults who just don't understand kids and a very energetic group of young people and they can all dance.

 So why did this movie tank at the box office? It could be that audiences wanted something a bit less polished, something more like the original movie? Maybe people were bored with the whole b-boy thing? On my part, I didn't see it at the movies because it didn't open in any theaters close to me, it only played in the inner-city theaters here in Philadelphia, PA. I got to see it when it came out on video the following summer (Ah yes, the good old Video Den!). Lucinda Dickey looks even hotter here, Ozone and Turbo have great rapport and it's a great looking production. My only complaint is that the soundtrack isn't as memorable, the movie didn't produce any Top 40 hits like the Ollie & Jerry tune ("Breakin' ..... There's No Stoppin' Us") from the first movie. While the music is still pretty good, it's rather forgettable. If I may return to the lead actress for a moment, I'd like to repeat my disappointment at her skimpy filmography. She has only two post-1984 credits, the 1988 horror flick Cheerleader Camp (never saw it) and a Perry Mason TV movie from 1990. If you look closely at Grease 2, you can see Dickey dancing in the background in a few numbers. She really shines in Breakin' 2, she ranks alongside other underappreciated 80s stars like Stacey Nelkin and Jill Schoelen. In addition, it's another cinematic time capsule, but I think today's audiences will appreciate this more than the first movie because it's exactly like an old-fashioned movie musical. In my opinion, that's a timeless genre although I'm having a difficult time picturing Mickey Rooney doing the windmill.

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