Body Rock (1984)

body rock

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 2 out of 10

4-Word Review: Lots of break-dancing.

Chilly (Lorenzo Lamas) is a an aspiring street artist who learns of an agent named Terrence (Ray Sharkey) who is looking for break-dancers for his next production. Although Chilly doesn’t know how to break- dance he gets a young African American kid named Magick (La Ron A. Smith) to teach him how. Soon Chilly and his friends are doing the moves and form a group called The Body Rocks. Unfortunately the producers like Chilly, but not his friends. He gets hired to dance at a high class club while leaving his friends behind, which causes friction with his old buddies especially when things don’t work out and Chilly finds himself in need of them.

If you like an 80’s movie that is oozing with cheesy 80’s kitsch from its first frame until its last then this movie is for you. Amazingly director Marcelo Epstein shoots it pretty well with a nice pace that never gets boring. There are a lot of scenes of break dancing here. In fact out of the entire 90 minute runtime at least 30 minutes of it deals with shots of somebody dancing. Director Epstein uses creative camerawork to keep it interesting and avoids it becoming anymore repetitive than it already is and in that regard he deserves credit. I liked how he showed some of it in slow motion as well as the underneath shots where the viewer sees the dancer’s body fly over the camera. The segment where the dancers wear glow-in-the-dark costumes resembling skeletons was actually kind of cool. It has been so long since I’ve seen anyone doing the moonwalk or the other dance moves that on a nostalgic level this is kind of fun.

Lamas wasn’t quite as bad as I feared. I admit I’ve never followed his ‘career’ much and he always seemed to me to be one of those hollow hunks, but here he doesn’t take himself too seriously. His colorful ‘hip’ bare chest exposing outfits and headbands are goofy and the fact that he insists on wearing them even on job interviews gets over-the-top and makes the already one-dimensional character even more of a caricature. The biggest problem though is the fact that Lamas was too old for the role. He was already 26 at the time and the part was more suited for an 18-year-old. Personally I would have had Majick as the lead. The kid has way more charisma than Lamas and was a much better dancer.

Sharkey as the agent is completely wasted and trapped in a blandly written role. I did like Grace Zabriskie as Chilly’s white-trash mother. A woman who seems to lie in bed all the time and smoke cigarettes while somehow trying to camouflage her aging, worn face with a platinum blonde dyed hairdo. The talented Zabriskie plays the caricature perfectly and I wished she had more scenes.

The movie is tolerable on a tacky B-level, but the corny over-blown ending pretty much kills it. The script was written by Desmond Nakano who later found critical success with Last Exit to Brooklyn and White Man’s Burden, but you wouldn’t see a shred of that here in a story that is woefully pedestrian and predictable. In fact the whole thing would have been more interesting had they scrapped the paper-thin plot and made a documentary on break-dancing instead.

My Rating: 2 out of 10

Released: September 28, 1984

Runtime: 1Hour 33Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Marcelo Epstein

Studio: New World Pictures

Available: DVD

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