Australian Council on Children and the Media

Battle of the Year

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Short takes

Not recommended under 13 (Violence; Themes; Coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Battle of the Year
  • a review of Battle of the Year completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 December 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence, coarse language and themes
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Battle of the Year
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language and violence
Length 111 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Battle of the Year is an American dance film set in the international world of b-boying. Not having won the infamous ‘Battle of the Year’ competition during the past fifteen years, company head Dante (Laz Alonso) decides to set about making b-boying cool in the United States again. Although he has a team prepared already, he seeks out an old friend who used to be an incredible b-boy coach, Jason Blake (Josh Holloway). Having isolated himself after the death of his wife and son, Jason is living an uninspired and self-destructive existence. However, after agreeing to coach a team on his own terms, Jason comes back and proceeds to fire every current member of Dante’s team, setting out to instead create an entirely new team comprised of the best b-boyers across the United States.

 Jason and the twenty-two men selected spend three months training in an unused juvenile detention centre, whilst Jason cuts the numbers down to a final team of thirteen. The team ultimately make it to the finals in the ‘Battle of the Year’, and face off against the infamous Korean team. However, Jason has taught the men that irrespective of the outcome, they should be proud of the team they have become.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Teamwork; dance and performance; relationships; depression and grief

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in the film, including:

  • There are multiple occasions where the boys on the team aggressively push and shove one another, slap each other across the back of the head, etc.
  • In France on the night before the finals, a fight breaks out in a bar – a large number of men are seen pushing and hitting each other.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Nothing of concern apart from the violent scenes described above

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Nothing of concern apart from the violent scenes described above

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern apart from the violent scenes described above

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

There is limited product placement in the film, including:

  • Franklyn asks Jason to pass him a computer tablet. When Jason asks what it is, he says ‘It’s the new Sony Tablet, it’s the future’.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in the film, including:

  • When Stacy, the attractive female choreographer first meets the team, Jason says that she might be a ‘bit of a distraction’ whilst the rest of the boys wolf-whistle at her from a distance.
  • When Stacy arrives, one of the boys on the team says ‘You can teach me whatever you want, preferably on the floor. Do you do massages? Because I have a lot of tension in my upper thigh’ – there are strong sexual connotations underlying his dialogue here.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in the film, including:

  • Jason has developed a drinking problem after the death of his wife and son – there are multiple references to this throughout the film. He carries a flask in his pocket
  • The b-boys are seen in a bar in France where they and others drink alcohol

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Multiple uses of the word ‘shit’, such as Jason asking ‘When did all this shit happen?’, Franklyn stating ‘That shit is nasty’, one of the b-boys saying ‘Shit, my mum was right’, etc.
  • The b-boys on the team are antagonising each other, saying things like ‘Shut up’, ‘Keep talking and I’m going to bust your ass’ and calling each other ‘bitch’.
  • There are also instances where the men call each other ‘assholes’, and where Jason asks if the boys have any ‘wise-ass questions’ for him.

In a nutshell

Battle of the Year centres around the core principle that greatness is a choice – individuals must believe that they are capable of achieving their dreams, and set out to do so through hard work and extreme determination. However, it also highlights the importance of teamwork and relying on others, using friends to motivate and push you forward, and letting them help when you’re having a difficult time.

The film’s violence, coarse language and themes make it unsuitable for under 13s, but parents of older teens may wish to discuss a number of issues raised by the film, including:  

  • Racial stereotyping, and the importance of acknowledging that individuals may feel that they belong to multiple ethnic groups.
  • Unexpected pregnancy and the lifestyle changes and sacrifices that may follow.
  • Grief and loss, and the different ways in which individuals may cope.
  • The concept of dance as art and a form of self-expression.

 

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