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Film / Breakin'

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Breakin' is a 1984 American comedy-drama movie about breakdancing.

Kelly Bennett (Lucinda Dickey) is a young dancer training under the supervision of the choreographer Franco (Ben Lokey). Through her friend Adam, Kelly is introduced to two street dancers, Ozone (Adolfo "Shabba Doo" Quiñones) and Turbo (Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers) on the boardwalk at Venice Beach. Kelly becomes enamored with their dancing and becomes friendly with the men, dancing and talking with them. Eventually, after dancing together the three form a team. Kelly eventually leaves her studio as her choreographer is a traditionalist as he does not respect breakdancing (on top of making unwanted advances on her), and the trio of her, Ozone and Turbo find themselves on an uphill climb to make their breakdancing gain the respect of the dancing community, and... well, that's pretty much it; most of the movie is just corny, entertaining dancing.


Of course, today the movie is best known for its sequel (released later that same year) Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, which spawned the "Electric Boogaloo" joke, used to refer to any pointless or strangely-named sequel.

Breakin' provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Cameo: Ice-T, before he was all that famous, appears at the MC for one of the breakdancing competitions.
  • Contagious Cassandra Truth: Kelly manages to get her initially sceptical agent to come down and watch a street dancing contest. This convinces him that they have potential and he agrees to take on her friends as clients too. Unfortunately, he has even more trouble convincing his contacts to take them seriously.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: Ozone gets immensely pissed off after losing a breakdancing competition, to the point of putting his frienship with Turbo and Kelly in peril.
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  • Dance Party Ending: Naturally. It helps that the movie ends up with the main trio bringing their breakdancing act to stage. Right alongside the Dance Party Beginning and Dance Party Middle!
  • Excuse Plot: The plot is little more than a reason for the movie to exist. 90% of it is taken up by dancing scenes.
  • Gay Best Friend: It is very much implied with his campy mannerisms that Kelly's friend Adam is this.
  • Greasy Spoon: Kelly is introduced working as a waitress in one of these.
  • In-Series Nickname: Turbo and Ozone decide to give Kelly a nickname similar to theirs after she decides to join them, in her case "Special K".
  • Market-Based Title: The film was released in some international markets as Breakdance.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kelly. While it is to be expected of dance clothes to be revealing, some of her dance scenes seem to focus on her ass. Hell, even the DVD cover does it!
  • Nice Guy: Besides some initial skepticism about Kelly's newfound love for breakdancing, James is nothing but supportive of her (and even the skepticism seems to be out of genuine worry that it could hurt Kelly's aspirations to be a professional dancer), and eventually becomes friendly of Turbo and Ozone too after seeing them at the breakdance competition (even if Ozone is reluctant of him at first).
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Turbo" and "Ozone" are certainly not their real names, but whatever they actually are, they're not telling. It is stated at one point that their real names are "Tony" and "Orlando", respectively, though that still leaves "Tony" presumably being a nickname too.
  • Rule of Drama: This seems to be the reason why Ozone zig-zags on being a jerk to his friends, is implied that he can't spit out his feelings for Kelly, and why Franco has somehow enough clout to blacklist the main trio from every dance audition they attend.
  • Waiting for a Break: Kelly is introduced working as a waitress in a Greasy Spoon while she aspires to be a professional dancer.