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BREAKIN' - 3 Slimes
Rated PG
Copyright 1984 Golan-Globus
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 April 2005

The Characters:  

  • Kelly - "Special K" to her friends. She has a tendency to perform more of a floor routine than a dance routine.
  • Ozone - The older street dancer who has a chip on his shoulder. If you are a breeding age male and talk to Special K, he hates you by default.
  • Turbo - He tends to be pretty standoffish at first, but gets better. What he needs is a girlfriend. Maybe a girl who dances, wears skirts, and mostly speaks Spanish...
  • James - Kelly's agent and, overall, a good guy.
  • Adam - No dance movie can be without the painfully gay male dancer who wears pants so tight that they reveal the topography. Sometimes I hate predictability.
  • Franco - As a dance teacher, he sucks. As a sexual harasser, he is great. Pretty good at bigotry too.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

"Breakin'" is one of those films that do not translate well into a review. This is probably on account of it involving dancing, which is something that you have to see to truly experience. However, since the movie does involve dance fighting, I think that my attempt at spelling out the absurdity will not be without merit.

Yes, dance fighting. You heard me.

Kelly works at a greasy diner where the owner yells a lot. She also aspires to be a professional dancer. The reason that she is having a problem finding work as a dancer is that she has not been trying. Fortunately, an old friend stops by and gives her the name and number of a friendly agent. Kelly decides to call the agent, which happens to be James. After work it is time for dance class, where Franco prances around the studio yelling things like "Here, right here!" and "More emotion!" I do not claim to have any credentials as a dance critic, but Franco's students look awful on the floor. Once class is over Franco drops a couple of hints that Kelly should be "nice" to him. Like lying on her back while he thrusts his way to Xanadu nice. Just a swell guy overall, that Franco.

There is one flaming point of light in Kelly's life: Adam. As her fellow student and friend, the young man convinces Kelly to visit Venice Beach with him. What she finds is solid gold. A crowd of people are gathered around a number of dancers who are poppin' and lockin' on the sidewalk. A few even breakdance, but the focus is on Ozone and Turbo as they show their moves. Okay, the real reason to watch this scene is to spot Jean-Claude Van Damme as one of the crowd. He is dressed in a black unitard. He is also clapping and moving from side to side. I do not know what sort of bizarro universe this scene came from; I do know that I never want to go there.

For a movie named "Breakin'," this film does not contain a lot of breakdancing. The reasons behind this are fairly murky. The best guess I can hazard is that, while entertaining, breakdancers having dance fights would result in very real injuries. Imagine taking two human tops and imparting opposite spins on each, then forcing them together. Ouch. The real culprits are most likely to be cinematography and the skills held by the three leads. Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quinones and Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers do not breakdance, they pop and lock. It is also easier to get good scenes with your actors poppin' and lockin'. Most everyone looks the same at 60rpm.

Anyway, Ozone really likes what he sees in Kelly. The smitten man drags Turbo to Franco's dance studio to see the young lady, with the expected result. Turbo starts dancing with the students, who totally dig his moves. At which point Franco notices the interruption and shuts down the party. The stuck-up dance teacher dresses down Turbo, thus arousing Ozone's ire (Ozone does a good job of glaring at people who annoy him). Then, after the two street dancers leave, Franco blames it all on Kelly. I think that Franco was honestly upset, but he ends up using the whole episode to maneuver Kelly into a position where he can force himself upon her body. Kelly pushes him off and storms out.

Now that she has some free time (no dance class), Kelly gets serious about her dancing career. She spends one day at auditions that were set up by James. The problem is that she sucks, meaning the casting directors tell her something to make her go away. Unfortunately they used, "We are looking for a tall blonde." as their lame excuse. The desperate girl doffs a hideous curly blonde wig and tries again, to no avail. Very unfortunately, the wig caused my damnable memory to regurgitate Robo C.H.I.C. and I went catatonic for the next five minutes. During this time I had vivid dreams of a nuclear device obliterating a herd of bison. Upon waking, I was disappointed to realize that my supply of Buffalo Jerky was gone (a gift from my brother-in-law, finished the last two weeks ago). Life just is not fair.

Lacking any sort of meaningful work, Kelly cruises over to the Radiotron (DJ'd by none other than Ice-T) to watch Ozone and Turbo defend their title. You see, there are these two other dancers who have been menacing our dance heroes. The rival dancer's have a name for their group (of two?), "Electro Rock." What ensues is a vicious dance fight, with Ozone and Turbo doing just fine until Electro Rock uses their secret weapon. The two antagonists reach back into the crowd and pull out... ...a girl! Ozone retreats like a kicked dog, his dance manhood smashed by the surprise female's moves.

Totally punked, Ozone descends into a pit of self-pity and even Turbo cannot pull him out. It takes Kelly visiting the pair's garage to instill some life into the defeated warrior. Now, Ozone had already decided to call Kelly "Special K" as her street dancing name. By joining them, thus making a trio, a snappy name is realized. TKO! About ten minutes go by as Ozone and Turbo teach Special K how to dance. James is none too happy about his client's fascination with street dancing, but reluctantly agrees to come to the Radiotron for the rematch between Electro Rock and TKO. The agent is caught up in the excitement as TKO butchers their enemies on the dance floor.

An interesting thing is that, during the dance fight, Special K performs more gymnastics than dancing. She continues this trend for the rest of the movie, even somersaulting herself into the sequel. One would almost imagine that actress Lucinda Dickey had competed in gymnastics, even taking home trophies from competitions. Yes, just perhaps...

So, I mentioned that James was completely won over by the energy and skill of TKO's performance. He decides to set them up to audition for the biggest dance production in town, a jazz number. To grease the wheels, he holds a ritzy party and invites Ozone, Turbo, and Special K to the soiree. Unfortunately, James does not know the trio's history with Franco; he invites the jerk along with all the important figures in the dance community. Ozone is not comfortable with the surroundings by nature, when Franco starts tossing verbal insults the patented "Ozone Glare" and "Ozone Shove" are demonstrated. James throws Franco out of the party, but the damage is already done. It may not be clear from my writing, but Ozone walks around with a huge chip on his shoulder all the time. Part of it is that he is frightened of failure. The other part is not so easy to pin my finger on, but I think he hates anyone who is not a street dancer (and even hates some of those too). Ozone could probably pass easily from dance fighter to mass murderer.

Can Special K convince Ozone that, if you do not try, you have already failed? Will TKO get past the limited vision of pompous dance professionals like Franco? Are the producers of the jazz show willing to rework their choreography to incorporate the raw energy and passion of poppin' and lockin'?

Well, yeah. Duh.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Dancing in Vegas does not require a pretty face.
  • Gay men hate to be called "Cupcake."
  • Socks are under utilized as a fashion statement.
  • Tina Turner used to rent out her hair.
  • Linoleum is a breakdancer's best friend.
  • Never offer "pig cheese" to an overweight woman.
  • Sweet Tarts do not dissolve when exposed to sweat and make for unique jewelry.
  • Some girls really like sequins.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 1 min - Bubba never mentioned "Boogaloo Shrimp."
  • 12 mins - Hey, that girl is out on the dance floor! Wait, what is going on?
  • 19 mins - Did anyone not see this coming?
  • 25 mins - Could those jeans be any tighter? Egad.
  • 41 mins - He was thinking that maybe you could both go inside and practice making babies.
  • 49 mins - Ice-T is like Howard Cosell, but with rap sentence structure.
  • 53 mins - You are awfully negative for a guy who lives in a garage adorned with chicken wire.
  • 71 mins - "Okay, I'll go tell them." (Guy walks over.) "Uh, there are some black people here..."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note breakin1.wav Franco: "Kelly, I'm a very good teacher and if there's anybody who knows what you need, it's me. Nothing, but the best, for the best. Huh baby?"
Green Music Note breakin2.wav Electro Rock1: "You want some? Then come and get it"
Ozone: "Why don't you punks just split? I think I hear your momma calling you."
Electro Rock2: "You don't like what you see? Yeah, we're the dudes gonna to put you under."
Electro Rock1: "Yeah, you're looking at death, man!"
Green Music Note breakin3.wav Turbo: "Why, I'd burn any girl that put her face in front of me."
Ozone: "She was good."
Kelly: "I'm better."
Green Music Note breakin4.wav James: "Street dancing?"
Kelly: "James, you don't understand."
James: "Kelly, I'm aware of what it is. It is just that I'm working on getting you into one of the biggest dance competitions, which can lead to incredible exposure, and you're telling me you want to be a street dancer."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipbreakin1.mpg - 2.3m
Dance fight!

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