Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Beat the World (DVD Review)

DVD review of Canadian hip hop dance film Beat the World starring Tyrone Brown, Sho-Tyme, Chase Armitage, Christian Loclair, Stephanie Nguyen, Kristy Flores, and Lil'C

Image: Courtesy of eOne Films.

Writer/Dir: Robert Adetuyi (Turn it Up)
Cast: Tyrone Brown, Mishael Morgan, Sho-Tyme, Chase Armitage, Christian Loclair, Stephanie Nguyen, Kristy Flores, Shane Pollard, Nikki Grant, Christopher Toler (Lil'C)
Canada, 2011

Reason to see: Canadian film that fuses dance with parkour? That's made for me!

I was so excited to hear about Beat the World, a Canadian dance film with a crew that decides to blend parkour with hip hop. Great place to start! Turns out that it actually follows three streetdance crews from around the world on their way to the Beat the World competition in Detroit. The crews all all have their own dramas and challenges along the way.

The film mainly focuses on the Fusion, the Windsor group that is working with fusing street and parkour including Yusan (Tyrone Brown) who actually serves as the films protagonist, Justin (Chase Armitage) the London boy who brings the parkour action, Cherry (Nikki Grant) and familiar faces to dance fans Easy (Sho-Tyme) and Deray (Christopher Toler aka Lil'C). I have to admit that seeing both Sho-Tyme and Lil'C were HUGE highlights of the film for me as I'm a fan of both of them. We also have Maya (Mishael Morgan) as a part of the Windsor folk, not as a dancer but she is Yusan's girlfriend and plays into the romance of the film and the larger story of the challenge when dance and the rest of life collide.

Circling around the globe we also have Berlin crew Flying Steps featuring loverboy/player Eric (Christian Loclair) and Nina (Stephanie Nguyen) and the Brazil crew Revolustion led by the not-so-responsible Carlos (Shane Pollard) and also includes (Olivia) Kristy Flores. These crews don't get as much screen time, but I did really enjoy seeing Stephanie Nguyen (Streetdance), she's a beautiful and versatile dancer and gets a fair amount of screen time dancing here, as well as some time with the larger story as well - and her character is fierce.

Beat the World is a dance film at heart and pretty much keeps to the formula of a competition based dance film, of having drama with romance, jealousy and the conflict of doing something new versus sticking to the tried and true. The dance and the parkour are where the film really shine, giving the viewer lots of great sequences to enjoy throughout the entire film. There are tons of talented dancers here, and it was a joy to see them, specifically Sho-Tyme, Lil'C, Stephanie Nguyen and Christian Loclair. On the parkour side of things Chase Armitage was amazing, I am always floored to see bodies so swiftly in motion - and the DVD extras have some great stuff on the parkour side of things. Truly amazing.

I do have to point out though that the pacing of the film through me for a bit of a loop, there were certainly moments where it felt like what was happening couldn't have happened in the time given or that sequences that were supposed to be over time were all filmed at the same time. But, it's a dance film at heart and the dancing is where it's at. Plus, huge added bonus was that Sho-Tyme delivers one hell of an actor performance. Who knew? He totally blew me away. Fun times.

DVD Extras:
  • Behind-the-scenes Featurette (8 minutes) film clips, behind the scenes, and interviews with writer/director Robert Adetuyi, actor/parkour choreographer Chase Armitage, actor/choreographer Sho-Tyme, actor Tyrone Brown, Nikki Grant, Lil'C on the film, their characters and often specifically about their personal connection to their characters in the film, the films theme of love and love for dance, the idea of fusing parkour and hip hop, the authenticity of portraying a streetdance crew and lots of behind the scenes on the parkour training and rehearsing.
  • Parkour Featurette (7 minutes) 3RUN: The Team Behind the Film - interviews with 3RUN co-founder Sam Parham, 3RUN director (and Beat the World actor/parkour choreographer) Chase Armitage and 3RUN athletes Cole Armitage & Mathew Kaye on parkour, free-running, martial arts and the art of movement, plus discussing how 3RUN began, how they work together, how they got connected with the film, making their own films and nice selection of test footage with really impressive selection or free running in a variety of settings from nature to gyms to urban settings.
Beat the World is available on DVD and BluRay as of June 21, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca (DVD), Amazon.ca [Blu-ray] & Amazon.com (DVD), Amazon.com [Blu-ray]

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, especially the dancing & parkour
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to dance film fans

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© Shannon Ridler, 2011

Chase Armitage (Justin), Teresa Espinoza (Fusion Dancer), Sho-Tyme (Easy), Nikki Grant (Cherry) in BEAT THE WORLD Photo by Sophie Giraud Courtesy of eOne Films

Lil'C (Deray), Chase Armitage (Justin), Tyrone Brown (Yuson) in BEAT THE WORLD Photo by Sophie Giraud Courtesy of eOne Films

Fusion Dance Crew in BEAT THE WORLD Photo by Sophie Giraud Courtesy of eOne Films

Mishael Morgan (Maya) in BEAT THE WORLD Photo by Sophie Giraud Courtesy of eOne Films

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