Beat Street Blu-ray Review
“Beat Street” is uneven at best.
“Beat Street” is a 1984 film that is part musical, part breakdancing movie, and part hip-hop movie. The story (which is set in The Bronx) follows a DJ (Kenny), his talented but rebellious little breakdancing brother (Lee), a graffiti artist (Ramon), a wannabe manager (Charlie), and a composer (Tracy). The film sets out to be an all encompassing story about 80’s hip-hop culture, but really, it’s a story of artists and their hopes and dreams.
When I saw “Beat Street” many years ago, I remember it being an entertaining hip-hop/breakdancing movie. Seeing it now, however, it doesn’t exactly hold up.
For a film with such a memorable soundtrack (featuring the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay, and the Grandmaster Melle Mel and The Furious 5), “Beat Street” is a surprisingly clumsy movie. While there are a few lively moments (such as the bizarre “Santa’s Rap” number), the amnitious film is bogged down by too many ideas, concepts, and melodramatic character moments involving Ramon’s life and the forced “romance” between Tracy and Kenny. At some points, the movie just feels like a collection of musical numbers and scenes based on current trends at the time of filming.
Perhaps the most baffling aspect of the movie is how strangely sluggish it is (no doubt due to some dire editing). It simply lacks the energy and lovable characters that films like Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo or even Rappin’ had.
Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The Blu-ray transfer has a few flaws (noticeable grain and dirt specs), but overall it is quite an impressive upgrade from that of the DVD. The exterior street shots and the colorful Roxy club scenes particularly shine here.
Audio Track: Unspecified DTS Track. How does it sound? The music is upbeat and lively, but the dialogue centric moments are decidedly lackluster. In other words, it’s a hit-and-miss track.
Extras: “Beat Street” trailer.
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