"Gang Fighting on the Dance Floor"
What You Need To Know:
The protagonist’s journey in BATTLEFIELD AMERICA from proud and selfish to loving and compassionate is admirable, but not believable. The transitions back and forth from creep to hero are weak. The filmmakers also toss in a couple hokey subplots where the sap runs faster than a New England maple tree. What’s more troubling, however, is that the boys transform into a dance troupe proudly named “The Bad Boys” who can present themselves as the “baddest” thugs on a dance floor. Thus, the movie’s dance scenes resemble an angry choreographed gang fight. MOVIEGUIDE® commends BATTLEFIELD AMERICA for encouraging selflessness and forgiveness, but calls for extreme caution because of the dancing, angry insults, and some brief foul language and light drug references.
(Pa, B, C, LL, V, A, DD, MM) Mixed pagan worldview promoting dances resembling an angry gang fight, with some moral, redemptive elements displaying compassion and extolling selflessness and forgiveness, but characters (even those showing compassion) give no indication of faith; 10 or 11 obscenities, no profanities, and two profane gestures; brief fighting among competing dance groups, but the dancing itself is conducted in a “battle” with many taunting movements; no sex but some dancing where male dancers grab their crotch; no nudity; some social drinking shown, resulting in the main character being sentenced to community service for drunk driving; one of the boy’s mother dies of apparent drug related problems; and, a great deal of taunting and insulting, plus some dishonesty and boys apply a light obscenity when referring to attractive girls.
BATTLEFIELD AMERICA is about a high-powered advertising executive sentenced to community service where he’s required to train some young boys to compete in a dance competition. Marred by some foul language the movie encourages unselfishness even as it promotes a form of dancing that resembles a choreographed gang fight.
The movie opens with a dance competition that features young children displaying tremendous athleticism and discipline in their choreography but absolutely frightening attitudes toward their competitors. The title BATTLFIELD AMERICA is derived from the name of a dance competition very different than ballroom dancing. While one group of dancers performs, their opponents face them with hateful looks. The choreography frequently includes crotch grabbing and insulting poses. When in most dance competitions, dancers want to look content, if not happy, in these dances the fashion is to look as angry and arrogant as you can.
The story opens with a selfish, proud high-powered advertising executive being sentenced to community service for drunk driving. He winds up at a community center assigned the task of teaching a group of young boys to dance in the battlefield style described above. He doesn’t want to be there. Making matters worse, he dislikes the boys, and they dislike him. In the course of the movie, he comes to love both the boys and the woman who heads the community center. His journey from proud and selfish to loving and compassionate is admirable as storylines go, but it’s not believable. In fact, it comes across as hokey. Also, the transitions back and forth from creep to hero back to creep and back to hero are weak.
The filmmakers also toss in a couple hokey subplots. In one, a boy’s father suddenly wants to be part of the boy’s life after neglecting him for years. In another, a mother who opposes dancing learns to love it. In other words, the sap runs faster than a New England maple tree.
What’s most troubling of all is that the wonderful “miracle” accomplished in the plot is the shaping of these lost boys into a group proudly named “The Bad Boys” who can present themselves as the “baddest” thugs on the dance floor.
The poster for BATTLEFIELD AMERICA has the bold headline “Where Kids Rule.” The Bible makes many references to children being obedient and respectful. Parents are to train and discipline children. Many an American family today suffers from children being encouraged by movies and television to rule their parents and teachers. In the end, this kind of thing doesn’t benefit children; it corrupts them.
MOVIEGUIDE® commends the filmmakers for encouraging unselfishness and forgiveness but calls for extreme caution regarding BATTLEFIELD AMERICA’s glorification of dancing that exemplifies youthful pride and anger. The movie also has brief foul language and light drug references.