PLANET B-BOY (Benson Lee). 95 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (May 30). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
The urban underdog characters from 8 Mile and Step Up have nothing on the real-life homies from every corner of the earth who break their backs to compete in the annual B-Boy Battle Of The Year blowout in Germany.
After providing a quick background on “breaking” – who knew that one sequence from Flashdance was so inspirational to a generation of future breakdancers? – director Benson Lee introduces us to crew members in Korea, Japan, the U.S. and France, and then devotes the last half of the film to the white-knuckle competition itself.
The showdown is eye-popping, the ripped and attitude-laden dancers thrilling to watch as they try to psych each other out with their mad skillz.
The competition is gender-skewed, for sure (we meet but lose sight of a female French breaker), and it would be interesting to see how the dancers adjust their moves as they age. But what’s most revealing is how completely hip-hop culture – dance, music and fashion – has taken over the entire globe. That title isn’t hyperbolic.