Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 1984. Orion Pictures. Story by Steven Hager, Screenplay by Andrew Davis, David Gilbert, Paul Golding. Cinematography by Tom Priestley Jr.. Produced by Harry Belafonte, David V. Picker. Music by Harry Belafonte, Webster Lewis. Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein. Costume Design by Bernard Johnson, Kristi Zea. Film Editing by Bob Brady, Dov Hoenig.
A group of young people pursue their artistic dreams against the odds in the Bronx in this bright and energetic film bursting with music and dancing. Kenny (Guy Davis) wants to be a DJ and allows his friend Chollie (Leon W. Grant) to manage him as he goes from one gig to the next, trying to be noticed by big-time promoters. His little brother Lee (Robert Taylor) is an expert breakdancer whose moves are spotted by college student Rae Dawn Chong, who invites him to try out for her school’s show and ends up in a romance with Kenny. The brothers’ friend Ramon (Jon Chardiet) is a graffiti artist who spends his nights covering subway trains in his beautiful murals while his girlfriend Carmen (Saundra Santiago) raises their daughter alone and Ramon’s father pressures him to get a proper job and take care of his family.
These are the dramas at the fringes of what is mostly a collection of fun and colourful musical numbers that still look and sound great, the film a wonderful tribute to the emerging hip hop scene of the mid-eighties that perfectly captures its vibe. Produced by Harry Belafonte, who also contributes to the soundtrack, the film works exactly right thanks to a tone of sincerity that allows the easy charm of its characters to speak for themselves, while making ample room for them to show off their impressive skills.