With such a preposterously dewy-eyed premise, how could this have been anything but awful? Orphaned T (Gedrick) lives in an empty water-tower atop a deserted Lower East Side tenement in New York. In fact there's an entire community of kids up there, who hang out by night in a vacant lot named 'The Garden of Eden', peaceably sorting out their differences through 'combat dance' (a stylised descendant of the Afro- Brazilian martial arts discipline Capoeira, which involves no physical contact). Enter serpent-like trouble in the form of neighbourhood pusher Lobo (Vélez), aided and abetted by nubile young Elena (Beyer), with whom our hero is besotted. Time for teen-love torn apart once more by divided loyalties. Nearly 30 years after West Side Story, Wise's return to the 'street-sussed musical' is painfully disappointing: a parade of frantic, vacuous gestures which, like combat dancing itself, simply never delivers the punch as lithesome muscles sweat aimlessly under clingy vests, accompanied by Dave (Eurythmics) Stewart's blusterous soundtrack. By the time Lobo's henchmen start blowing up water-towers and chucking kids off rooftops, you can't help but sympathise.
Cast and crew