Poppin' and Lockdown 2: Dance the Right Thing | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Poppin' and Lockdown 2: Dance the Right Thing


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POPPIN' AND LOCKDOWN 2: DANCE THE RIGHT THING, Factory Theater, at Prop Thtr. In their 2002 hit Poppin' and Lockdown, Kirk Pynchon and Michael R. Meredith combined two of the corniest genres of 1980s cinema--break-dancing flicks and prison movies--to superb effect. This sequel sticks close to the spirit of the original, as a group of dancers reunites to save a community center from the clutches of crack dealer Mendoza. Director Steve Walker again crafts a delicate balance between glowing reverence and nudge-and-wink irony: one character gushes, "I look much cooler now!" after trading a generic tracksuit for a hilariously dated B-boy ensemble.

But when the humor gets too broad, the focus starts to unravel. The best punch lines disappear amid attempts to sprint to the next target; by the fourth or fifth ending, the buildup has stalled. A sequel ought to raise the stakes to impossible heights, or at least move a formula closer to perfection, but Poppin' and Lockdown 2 does neither. Sure, it's fun to revisit the characters five years later--too bad they haven't learned any new moves.

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