Boogie (Blu-Ray Review)

Boogie is another in a long line of “sports dramas.”  The price of fame, romance, and the inevitable showdown at the end… Yep, it’s all there.  But does it hold up the formula or bring it down? Eddie Huang breaking out of his producer’s chair to write and direct has delivered this entry, which became available on Blu-ray way back in early June! Check out my thoughts as I go in depth, and if the mood strikes you, go ahead and click the link at the end to get yourself a copy of Boogie.


Alfred Chin, Boogie (Taylor Takahashi) is a natural basketball star.  He has the skill, the know-how and the drive to be one of the best at the game.  He is of course pushed by his parents who have expectations far too high and often make the focus on themselves.  Boogie’s father has his own dreams of fame living vicariously through his son, while Boogie’s mother is a manipulator who wants to enforce money and material over anything else.

When Boogie joins a new school in a new neighborhood to face off against another high school hoop star (Pop Smoke in a posthumously released role), things get a little more complicated. Eleanor (Taylour Paige) is part of that equation, playing first hard to get and then letting her guard down to find herself falling for Boogie.  Monk (Smoke) is the other part of that, being a partial rival, but also Eleanor’s former flame.  Torn between wanting to just be 18 and finish school, earn a scholarship and become educated AND talented at basketball and his own dream of going straight to the NBA, Boogie struggles and ultimately has to choose what’s best for himself.

Formula. That’s the best way I can describe this film debut from Eddie Huang.  There is nothing here we haven’t seen before.  Characters feel like carbon copies and story arcs appear from other, of course better films. Hoosiers, Love and Basketball and even shades of the basketball scenes in Teen Wolf come to mind for me.  The melodrama is something one expects from a film like this, and it’s fine, I guess. The main freshness for me was that the film centers around an Asian-American family and their unique culture is on display in the film.  That for me is the only refreshing part of the film.  Even the interracial romance and culture clash ideas felt stale.

Then there are the performances.  These range from good to middling depending on the character.  Boogie is played by Taylor Takahashi, a Bay Area native who is ten years older than the character he’s playing.  This is obvious right from the onset and off-putting for me.  The same can be said for his female co-star, who is 30 years old playing 18.  Ageist as it may sound, and not a new practice in Hollywood by any means, the age gap is just far too severe for me to make it believable.  Pop Smoke, rest in peace, was no actor either.  Boogie’s parents play for soap opera drama a lot, and the moments where the film tries to make itself humorous often come after some more severely serious moments so there’s also a tone issue.

I went into Boogie with an open mind and not much expectation which usually makes movies a little better, but in this instance, I am unable to recommend this one to anyone.  The story is age old, the characters are bland, the actors in the young roles are far too old to be playing them, and the tonal mishmash is hard to get into when finding a rhythm.  Also, at 90 minutes, the film feels long, which is definitely not a compliment. If you’re looking for a good basketball film with some romance, Criterion is releasing Love and Basketball on Blu-ray towards the end of September.


  • Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Layers: BD-25
  • Clarity/Detail: Good movie it is not, but Boogie looks good on Blu-ray. The film looks like a movie shot in 2020, with crisp detail and no softness on display.  The film was obviously captured digitally so the image is clean and clear overall.
  • Depth: Depth of field presents itself in interiors and exteriors lending the image a fine scope and scale.  The cityscapes of New York look fleshed out and small spaces in schools and middle-class homes also have strong definition.
  • Black Levels: Blacks have a nice dark natural appearance. Looking at the image I didn’t see anything that looked odd or grey or unnaturally black. No crush here.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors here look nice and bright. Reds, greens, greys, and blues all look just as they should and have a nice clean pop to them too.
  • Flesh Tones: Flesh tones look great here. Nobody looks unnatural and the look is very organic overall.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Clean



  • Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish and French DTS Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French Spanish
  • Dynamics:The sound design for Boogie is pretty straightforward.  Dialogue driven for the most part, the movie fleshes out with city sounds and hip-hop music.  There isn’t anything here to set your ears ablaze, but there needn’t be either.
  • Height: N/A
  • Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer gets its work done with music. Pop Smoke music permeates the soundtrack and the sound of modern hip-hop digs deep with each cue.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: This mix is subtle in the surround department. With a few moments of ambiences here and there, and music filling the channels when it plays, you have a pretty simple surround presentation.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Clean and crisp. You won’t miss a piece of the contrived dialogue.


Boogie comes home via Universal (and Studio Distribution Services :-O) with a slipcover and digital copy. There are also three tiny featurettes that make up less than ten minutes of added value to the package.  The features are all in 1080P and are:

  • The Road to Boogie-Town
  • Eddie Huang: It’s Personal
  • Shout out to Pop Smoke

Yep, that’s about 8.5 minutes of special features spread across three little segments. Blah blah blah…


Boogie doesn’t add anything to the sports drama genre. It also adds nothing to the romance or family drama genres.  I wasn’t impressed with anything in the film in all honesty and felt that the movie dragged even as it clocked in at just under 90 minutes. Is it an abomination? No.  Is Boogie a disaster? No.  But It’s also nothing special, and mediocrity shouldn’t be praised either.  Skip it.

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