FOOTAGE FETISHES: “BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO” Image

“At least she’s not spending time with those…street people anymore.”

When last we left the doughty trio of Ozone, Turbo, and Kelly Bennett (“Special K” to her friends), they had overcome internal strife and incredible odds to…okay; honestly I don’t remember what happened in the first “Breakin’” movie. I think Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) left her old dance instructor because he was, like every other man in the early ‘80s, unable to resist the siren call of Lucinda Dickey. She hooked up with Ozone (Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones) and Turbo (Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers) and danced – a lot – often accompanied by that classic song, “There’s No Stopping Us.”

At the beginning of “Breakin’ 2,” Kelly has just finished touring with some assumedly respectable dance company. Her rich parents (John Christy Ewing and “Dirty Harry’s” Jo De Winter) want her to reconsider their offer to send her to Princeton, which Kelly naturally declines. Why let Mom and Dad pay for you to attend an Ivy League university when there are so many low budget theater productions she can be involved with right there in L.A.? After a heated exchange, Kelly heads off to visit her old friends at Miracles, the most garishly decorated community center west of Fire Island. Ozone and Turbo squire her around the facility, showing off the various ways (dance classes, boxing) in which they’re keeping the local children from becoming otherwise productive members of society (if nothing else, the “Breakin’” movies have taught us that the best way to deal with personal or professional tribulations is through dancing the night away). Before long, everyone has dropped whatever they were doing and transformed into what looks like a big Lionel Richie video – and if you think this is a coincidence, consider that Quinones choreographed Richie’s clip for “All Night Long.” There’s even a breakdancing mime. Jesus.

Such idyllic happiness is short-lived, as our main characters are confronted with an evil land developer named Mr. Douglas who wants to tear down this bastion of multicultural slackitude known as Miracles and put up a shopping center. That’s right, kids: he wants to get rid of your unsafe, abandoned building and build a business park that could potentially inject needed funds into the local economy and offer jobs to area youth. Get a rope.

The gang at Miracles (including Granville from “The Longest Yard,” Harry Caesar) has to raise $200,000 to make the necessary repairs to the building or Miracles will be torn down. With time running out, and numerous business ventures coming up short (for future reference, we learned at my high school that the best way to convince cars to stop for your car wash was to get the girls out there in bikinis), things start looking desperate.

Too bad these guys never heard of savekaryn.com.

“Girls are wack.”

If you haven’t seen “Breakin’ 2” in a while, it would behoove you to prepare yourself for what passed for acceptable male fashion at the time. You’ve got to respect a guy like Ozone, who can wear a bolero hat, a red and black checked half shirt, and harem pants and still comes across as (more or less) a man’s man. Of course, he also insists on wearing a black leather vest and pants while painting. I suppose it would it have been too much to ask for him and Turbo to sacrifice some small percentage of their clothing budget so someone could pay the damn rent?

The ladies in attendance don’t fare much better, sartorially speaking, but at least they look like you’d expect ‘80s characters would (most could’ve come off the set of a Cyndi Lauper video). One aspect that may or may not appeal to the guys out there: almost no one in the movie wears a bra. It’s realistic, I suppose: dancers (real dancers, not the chicks on “G-String Divas”) aren’t known for having lots of body fat. Kelly herself, Lucinda Dickey, studied dance most of her life and was possibly the flattest leading lady around until Kate Hudson came along. And the latter doesn’t spend half her movies in a fluorescent green sports bra like Dickey does.

And Lucinda was in “Ninja III: The Domination.” Game, set, match.

Ozone and Kelly share the G-rated romance they started in the first film, while Turbo spends half the movie pining for Lucia, a lovely neighborhood Latina. Unsure how to approach her, he pleads with Ozone for advice. What follows is one of the most disturbing sequences ever captured on film, as the two men trade off dancing with a mannequin that periodically morphs into each of their respective objects of affection. After ripping the mannequin apart, they end up pirouetting with each other. It’s played cute, but the whole scene gave me night sweats the likes of which I haven’t felt since From Justin to Kelly.

Turbo needn’t have worried. His lady fair doesn’t speak English, but that doesn’t mean she can’t understand the International Language…of Dance! Frustrated by his muffed attempts to get her attention, he does what everybody else in this movie that’s facing a crisis does and starts popping and locking in frustration. Before he knows it, he’s literally dancing on the ceiling (Lionel Richie again) in a routine that doubtless caused a lot of astonishment when Fred Astaire did it in 1951’s “Royal Wedding.” Lucia, obviously not worried about barging into someone’s house in a bad neighborhood without knocking, sees this awesome display and is completely smitten. Quelle surprise.

Get the rest of the story in part three of FOOTAGE FETISHES: “BREAKIN’ 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO”>>>

Discuss Pete Vonder Haar’s “Footage Fetishes” column in Film Threat’s BACK TALK section! Click here>>>

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