Sunday, 9 January 2011

Retro Review: Beat Street

Remember Beat Street? Maybe it is being in New York that has got me all nostalgic. Beat Street is a film set in the South Bronx that showed Hip Hop culture in its purest form. From break dancing, body popping, graffiti, DJing and rapping, it was all there. The film was released in 1984 but got overshadowed by the cheesy Breakin, which was set in LA although the latter film had the glamour and the promotional budget, Beat Street was a far superior film and is still relevant today. Beat Street is the story of Kenny played by Guy Davis, (son of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis) an aspiring DJ and his mates, Ramon played by Jon Chardiet who is a talented graffiti artist and Chollie played by Leon W. Grant a fast talking promoter. Kenny's little brother. Lee played by Robert Taylor is a break dancer and is part of the New York City Breakers. To throw a spanner in the works, Kenny meets and falls for Tracy, played by Rae Dawn Chong who is a music student from a more privileged background. The film shows the characters all striving to meet their dreams in a city that is plagued by inner crime, violence and poverty.  The film was produced by Harry Belafonte and directed by Stan Lathan. All the characters were relateble and the actors put in fantastic performances.
Aside from the gritty story lines which were very realistic, judging the state of NYC which was coming out of depression and starting to embrace the wonder of hip hop, the music scenes are really entertaining. Especially the battles between Lee's breakdance crew and the Rock Steady Crew, they were well constructed and blended very well into the story. The celebrity line up is impressive with performances by Afrika Bambaataa, & The Soul Sonic Force Doug E Fresh, Treacherous Three, Jazzy Jay, Magnificent Force, Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five. What stood out to me was the soundtrack which is amazing and has some wonderful tracks from the artists who performed in the movie.  I still have my raggedy VHS copy which I bought years ago but you can watch the whole film on You Tube.

1 cool comments:

LetsGoDeeper said...

I miss those days. Turbo in Breakdance, remember that? I've got Krush Groove on my DVD hard drive library, been trying to get a good copy of Beat Street for ever! Anyone know where I can get it to dl?