Though the sub-genre of dance off movies seemed to peak about a decade ago, we’re willing to give any film that features well choreographed musical numbers a shot. Battlefield America hits theaters this Friday, and showcases children serving each other. This limited release offers dancing and a by the numbers plot. Both are to be expected.
Check out our review below…
- Director: Chris Stokes
- Writers: Marques Houston, Chris Stokes
- Cast: Marques Houston, Mekia Cox, Christopher Jones, Lynn Whitfield, little kids
- Director of Photography: Mike Dannels
- Music: Michael J. Leslie
Successful advertising executive Sean Lewis (Marques Houston) celebrates a little too much after a promotion and gets a DUI. He takes his community service hours at a facility where his options are either to pick up trash, or help little kids with their dance troupe. He takes the latter and finds his humanity along the way.
- Dancing: There aren’t enough musicals, and though this doesn’t feature the budget to allow for some of the extended takes that can make a great musical sequence, there are talented children dancers here who do excellent work when the time calls for them to dance.These kids are exceptionally skilled, and that shows from the first couple frames.
- Modest: You’ve seen this film before, and it goes through the motions in a breezy, painless way. It makes no attempt at reinventing the wheel, but that is somewhat to be expected.It’s never offensive, just formulaic to a fault.
- Soundtrack: There’s lots of pop songs in the film, most catchy, and most good.
- Small: Look, this was a low budget production, and so it gets graded on a certain curve. This isn’t as polished (nor as entertaining) as the Step Up movies, but if you’ve seen a film like Standing Ovation, this could have been so much worse.
- Not Enough Dancing: Though the film builds itself around its big dance numbers, likely the fact that they are children means there’s a lot of time spent with the adults, most of whom do not dance.
- Character Work: Though inoffensive as a narrative, all the characters are built on cliches. There’s not an original stroke in the movie, from when the businessman finds that his love of the children is hurting his career, to how the team comes together after initially rejecting the coach. This never seems a work of passion or great interest, just another film that follows the same storyline you’ve seen at least a dozen times at this point.
If you want to see a dance movie, this will do the trick. It’s not aggressively terrible, or all that great. It’s a middle of the road picture that has moments of great dancing, and a plot that seems as old as Mickey Rooney. Eh.
The Rating: 6/10
Battlefield America opens June 1 in limited markets.
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