Review: ‘Always Be Boyz’

U.S.-based helmer John Kwon's debut "Always Be Boyz" aims to capture Seoul B-boy life, with actual dancers playing their fictive counterparts.

U.S.-based helmer John Kwon’s debut “Always Be Boyz” aims to capture Seoul B-boy life, with actual dancers playing their fictive counterparts. While the subject will raise interest, particularly in South Korea — whose fascination with hip-hop culture is also explored in current docu “Planet B-Boy” — semi-improvised pic’s excess visual gimmickry and scant narrative muscle will dampen enthusiasm in most quarters.

Seven (Sebin Oh) is a member of a struggling crew whose lack of corporate fiscal sponsorship is creating hardship and friction. When their power-move specialist bolts for a rival outfit, Seven recruits factory worker Ostrich (Seungyong Sung), whose prowess impressed him at a club. Several subplots go underdeveloped, while an inordinate amount of time is spent on pointless scenes that shouldn’t have made it past the brainstorming stage. When melodramatic tragedy occurs, it seems too much for hitherto meandering pic to support. Dance sequences are drowned in so much hyperactive camerawork and editing that one can seldom really appreciate the performers’ skills, even during the climatic stadium competition. On the upside, principals are screen naturals, despite no prior acting experience, and pic provides gratuitous opportunities to appreciate their toned, naked-or-shirtless bodies.

Always Be Boyz


A Trancezendance Films production. Produced by John Kwon. Executive producers, Jack Yang, James Kwon, Janet Kwon, Dave Koo. Directed, written by John Kwon.


Camera (color, mini-DV-to-DigiBeta, widescreen), Dongjoo Lee; editor, Kwon; music, Freescha. Reviewed at San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival (competing), March 16, 2008. English, Korean dialogue. Running time: 89 MIN.


Sebin Oh, Daegwan Shin, Heewoo Roh, Seungyong Sung, Yongwon Chae, Hyoungjoong Park, Jieun Ahn, Guangjoon Yook, Jaerim Lee, Christina Huntington, Hunyup Choo.
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