You Got Served: Beat the World (2011) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

You Got Served: Beat the World (2011)

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I don't want to be writing this.  I was a reluctant convert to the latest craze of dance films that were started with the amazing success of You Got Served.   But after I got over a bit of snobbery, I see that they are well shot, magnificently performed  expressions of the love of dance.  Heck, Step Up 3D is one of my favorite movies of 2010 (it's more innovative than Inception at least).

So it's with a heavy dose of sadness that I must report that the sequel to the start is lacking any sort of the heart that makes these films enjoyable.

You Got Served: Beat the World (BtW from here on) shares it's lineage with the original through name only.  It's only tenuous relationship to any of the films is that a single writer from Stomp the Yard (one of my least favorite) worked on this sequel.  Good for the DVD box, bad for the rest of us who have to see gambling and relationship squabbles play out with the energy of an unenthusiastic sloth.

But did that have to extend to the dancing?  No one is going to accuse any of these films with having brilliant plots (charming in some cases) but they always feature amazing routines and plenty of "Oh my God" moments.  The sequel attempts to blend parkour and street dancing, with awful results.

Without dragging any performers into this, we're introduced to the Good Guys who just want to innovate dance with parkour.  Ok, but parkour, while beautiful and physically poetic in certain circumstances, is still too interested in the long drop and skittering hops to be incorporated into any decent dance routine.  Instead we're treated to terribly long sequences of the Good Guys trying to incorporate wall jumps and obstacles into their routine without finding ways to introduce any sort of rhythm or, dare I say, dance into the mix.

Could someone -please- move the camera a little closer? It just looks like they're doing the Electric Slide.

It's telling that the Bad Guys, led by a boy with an unidentifiable accent that seems borrowed from the villains of Die Hard, have the best dances in the film.  Even then they're not very interesting, you've got your assorted pops and locks, kicks and flips, snakes and twirls.  But nothing that suggests that the dancers are enjoying what they're doing or even trying to elevate their particular form of expression to the next level.

There's no reason this shouldn't be fun!  Why should we be seeing the romantic misadventures of one dancer when they could be dancing instead?  True, even the best of the dance films incorporated a ham-fisted romance into the plot but at least remembered to have them dance with their passions instead of just staring at each other spouting inane romantic platitudes.  No one is living through what they love.  Instead they're treating dance like an obligation, something that's an unfortunate necessity to get beyond their station in life.

The lifeless nature of dance is incorporated into the way the action is filmed.  The best dance movies position their cameras at a far enough distance away to capture the full range of motion with each movement, while making the best use of available screen space.  The camera in BtW is just too close to the action when everyone is flipping around (a motion repeated ten times in one sequence) and too far away to really appreciate any of the movement.  Then someone made the bright decision to pump smoke into some of the dance sequences.  Honestly, if the audience is already far away, is the addition of a perpetually wafting obstacle really going to make things better?

Yeah, I'd feel that way after the 83rd backflip.

Anway, there's a final dance-off and the Good Guys need to win and yadda yadda.  But by the time we'd arrived I was so beaten down by the lifeless dancing, bad sub-plots (gambling anyone?  It goes nowhere), and perpetual misery that everyone seems to live in.  There's no love in the film for dance and the idea of incorporating parkour seems like a partially clever script conference idea than a concept drawn together by someone who's fully involved in dance.

I was really looking forward to watching this and hoping that, for this dance film, I wouldn't have a reason to post the robot dance.

But now I've broken that barrier.  Just watch that over and over again for an hour and a half.  You'll still have more of a reason to love dance movies than watching BtW.

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You Got Served: Beat the World (2011)

Written and directed by Robert Adetuyi.
Starring  Tyrone Brown, Mishael Morgan, and Nikki Grant.

Posted by Andrew

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