This week, Shout! Factory brings us the long-awaited blu-ray debut of classic early '80s hip-hop films Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. The classic tales of the magic street dancing can do, whether against a rival dance crew or to save a rec(reation) center, the fast pace and fun tone makes the movies a great time capsule of when breakdancing ruled the world. This edition also contains one of the most fascinating audio commentaries we've heard in some time on Breakin' 2, with director Sam Firstenberg, editor Marcus Manton and the film's iconic star Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quiñones. It's through both this commentary as well as research spawned from our own fandom that we present to you Five Facts about Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo That Will Pop and Lock Your Mind!
1)Shabba-Doo Almost Wasn't in the Sequel
As we discovered through the DVD commentary, a pay dispute almost lead to Quiñones not being in the second film. "I had did Breakin' and I refused to do Breakin' 2 because Menahem Golan [the head of Cannon Films] didn't want to pay me what I thought I was worth. For two weeks when we were at Cannes, I was off the picture and no-one knew it. Back here in Los Angeles and New York, they were trying to re-cast the role. To my happiness, they were unable to do so and Menahem came back 'OK Shabba-Doo, what do you want?'"
2) Real Life Tension Existed Between the Dance Crews
Steve "Sugarfoot" Notario was suggested by Quiñones to play Strobe, the leader of the film's rival dance team Electro Rock in Electric Boogaloo. Before shooting, because of how he didn't get along with Quiñones, they almost recasted him, but Quiñones wanted to go with the guy he didn't like anyway. Their real life animosity stemmed from Notario being a real life member of breakdance crew Dance Machine, who Quiñones saw as a "total ripoff" of his original group The Lockers. Dance Machine actually had a routine where they danced with nunchucks, which lead to its inclusion in the film's famous junkyard dance battle.
3) The Breakin' Films Have A Connection to Ninjas.
The Breakin' movies' female lead, Lucinda Dickey, was cast around the time she was starring in Cannon Films' gymnast-possessed-by-ninja epic Ninja III: The Domination. That film's director, Sam Firstenberg, went on to direct Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. All of this happened in 1984, and between breakdancing and the ninja craze, Dickey and Firstenberg both got to experience the entire decade in one glorious year.
4) The Real-Life Rec Center That Breakin' 2 Was Based On Wasn't As Fortunate
The original Breakin' came out of the breakdancing craze being captured in documentaries about Los Angeles youth venue Radiotron. The hip-hop explosion struck such a chord with the film-makers that the original Breakin' was shot at Radiotron itself and featured breakers like Boogaloo Shrimp and MCs like Ice-T, who were Radiotron regulars, in the movie. When Radiotron was shut down by the city, the youth who frequented it marched on city hall in hopes of getting the city to back them. Sadly, in real life, the Hollywood ending didn't happen as the club was demolished and the Surgeon General declared breakdancing was "hazardous to your health."
5) Yes, That Is Jean-Claude Van Damme as a Breakdance Enthusiast
Sometimes urban legends make their way around the Internet and people assume they're just immediately true because there's no way the world wide web would be a house of lies. Nine times out of ten they're wrong, but thankfully the one you most want to believe is actually real. Before he was the greatest acton star to ever perform full bodied split, Jean-Claude Van Damme was an outrageously enthusiastic extra in Breakin'. Look at him go!