Battle of the Year

Can a film about athletic activity, done in 3-D, be boring?

The answer is yes, judging by Battle of the Year, made by director Benson Lee, considered to be a champ of the art and skill involved in B-boying.

The film is an inferior fictional version of his 2007 documentary, Planet B-boy, which made some impact on hip-hop culture as practiced by youngsters.

In its good moments, which are few, the movie offers a look at the B-boy experience and the annual dance competition (which explains the film’s title).

While the nonfictional work succeeded in elevating the stature of breakdancing by emphasizing its innovation and originality, the fiction work manages to make it look bland, a pale imitation of pictures like Step Up and others.

The least you can expect is that a movie about the streetwise hip-hop culture should be interesting and fun to watch, if not edgy.

According to the film, breakdancing is now less pervasive and influential in the U.S. than in other parts of the world, a notion that serves as the premise to the very slight narative.

Laz plays Dante, an entrepreneur who realizes that hip-hop is no longer “cool” in the U.S. Problem is, he needs to sell more gear and the only way to do that is if the U.S. is back at the top of the B-boying subculture.

To accomplish his goal, he hires his former mate Jason (Josh Holloway), known as “Wonder Bread,” an alcoholic ex-basketball coach, to lead the team to the Battle of the Year contest.

Once hired, the plot, such as it is, becomes utterly predictable. Jason violates every rule in the book and form a dream team composed of the finest, and most eccentric, dancers. The task is to turn a bunch of competitive individualistic players into a team, guided by collective goals and shared values.