It's curious that Beat Street's first Blu-ray release is the Australian region 2 edition that is now a prized possession amongst my newborn Blu-ray collection. More so than its more pop-oriented cousins of the same year, Breakin' and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, I've always felt that Beat Street features a very American look at the hip-hop and dance culture of the 1980s. Whereas Breakin's soundtrack was all about Chaka Khan, Ollie & Jerry, and 3V who all permeated the global music charts, Beat Street's soundtrack of Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay, The Treacherous 3 and so many others tend to evoke a sound that never full entered the worldwide consciousness for several more years. I personally love the appearance of latin freestyle pop superstar of Brenda K Starr, whose "Vicious Beat" only exists within the 45 seconds she appears on screen!
What a corker of a song! It actually pains me knowing that we will never get to hear the entire version of the song as it (apparently) currently sits in a vault somewhere in a producer's office.
I routinely find myself trying to extol the virtues of the teen dance subgenre for the way they routinely have more interesting things to say about the nature of community and art, but it seems so few want to listen because, oh I dunno, the music's too loud or something. Beat Street was, I think, warmly met upon its release in 1984, but it has been reassessed by many and is ultimately seen as the era-defining almost-classic that it really is (the central romance involving Rae Dawn Chong is admittedly just a lot of fluff) and I hope its Blu-ray release here, and hopefully elsewhere in the near future, will only further develop the cult of Beat Street. The original title of the film was "Looking for the Perfect Beat" and, gosh darn it, I think they found it.