Story

Battle of the Year is an American dance movie set in the international world of b-boying. For the last 15 years, company head Dante (Laz Alonso) has failed to win the infamous ‘Battle of the Year’ competition. He decides to make b-boying cool in the United States again. Although he has a team prepared, he seeks out an old friend who used to be an incredible b-boy coach, Jason Blake (Josh Holloway).

Jason has isolated himself since the death of his wife and son and is living an uninspired and self-destructive existence. Jason agrees to coach a team, but only on his terms. He fires every current member of Dante’s team and sets out to create a new team with the best b-boyers in the United States.

Jason and the 22 young men he selects for the team spend three months training in an unused juvenile detention centre. Jason cuts the numbers down to a final team of 13. The team ultimately make it to the finals in the Battle of the Year and face off against the infamous Korean team. But Jason has taught the men that irrespective of the competition’s outcome, they should be proud of the team they have become.

Themes

Teamwork; dance and performance; relationships; depression and grief

Violence

Battle of the Year has some violence. For example:

  • Many times the men on the team aggressively push and shove one another, slap each other across the back of the head and so on.
  • In France on the night before the finals, a fight breaks out in a bar. Lots of men push and hit each other.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

There is nothing of concern in Battle of the Year for this age group, aside from the violent scenes described above. 

From 5-8

There is nothing of concern in Battle of the Year for this age group, aside from the violent scenes described above. 

From 8-13

There is nothing of concern in Battle of the Year for this age group, aside from the violent scenes described above. 

Over 13

There is nothing of concern in Battle of the Year for this age group. 

Sexual references

Battle of the Year has some sexual references. For example:

  • When Stacy, the attractive female choreographer, first meets the team, Jason says that she might be a ‘bit of a distraction’. The men wolf-whistle at her from a distance.
  • When Stacy arrives, one of the boys on the team says, ‘You can teach me whatever you want, preferably on the floor. Do you do massages? Because I have a lot of tension in my upper thigh’. There are strong sexual connotations underlying this dialogue. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Battle of the Year shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Jason has developed a drinking problem since the death of his wife and son. There are many references to this throughout the movie. He carries a flask in his pocket.
  • The b-boys go to a bar in France where they and others drink alcohol. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

There is limited product placement in Battle of the Year. For example, Franklyn asks Jason to pass him a computer tablet. When Jason asks what it is, he says, ‘It’s the new Sony Tablet, it’s the future’. 

Coarse language

Battle of the Year has some coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Battle of the Year is about the principle that greatness is a choice. Individuals must believe that they can achieve their dreams through hard work and extreme determination. The movie also highlights the importance of teamwork and relying on others, using friends to motivate and push you forward, and letting others help when you’re having a hard time.

The movie’s violence, coarse language and themes make it unsuitable for children under 13 years.

If you have older teenagers who see this movie, you could talk about some of the issues the movie raises, including:

  • racial stereotyping and how people might feel that, in reality, they belong to several ethnic groups
  • unexpected pregnancy and the lifestyle changes and sacrifices that might follow
  • grief and loss, and the different ways that people copedance as art and a form of self-expression.