Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)

Last August, I kicked off my  Recommendations month with Dirty Dancing.  I seriously regretted not ever seeing that one earlier.  It was my first viewing and it turned out to be so much fun.  You can check out my review HERE! This weekend, I decided to watch it while I was baking.  I love Patrick Swayze a lot even though he did most of his epic acting when I was really young.  Still, he’s a charming man and him as Johnny Castle makes me swoon.  So, i figured that I’d sit down to give Dirty Dancing: Havana Night a shot also.  My boyfriend kept telling me he heard it was really bad, but still, why not, right?

dirty dancing havana nights posterDirector: Guy Ferland

Cast: Diego Luna, Romola Garai, Sela Ward, John Slattery, Jonathan Jackson, January Jones

In 1950s, Katie (Romola Garai) moves with her parents (Sela Ward and John Slattery) and younger sister to Cuba as her father has been expatriated there for Ford. In the hotel where her and her family stays, she meets by chance a young teenage waiter, Javier (Diego Luna).  Later, on her way back from schoo, she sees him dancing among a group and starts talking to him.  After he escorts her home for her safety and gets seen, Javier ends up losing his job.  Afterwards, Katie learns that there is a dance contest that could win a lot of money and invites Javier to be her partner and win the contest so that he could take care of his family.  As they start to find their rhythm and style for the dance, they start to fall in love.

dirty dancing havana dance

I kept thinking Havana Nights was supposed to be a sequel but it isn’t because its set before Dirty Dancing was.  Then, I mean, it must be a remake but set in a different location and it wasn’t really that either and then well, its not even a prequel because they have an older Patrick Swayze in it (since it was made in 2004) and Dirty Dancing was in 1989 (if I’m not mistaken).  Either way, I don’t know what it is and even if its necessary.  Lets just say that, as I was getting pictures and stuff for this post, I realized that deep down I liked it more than I actually thought I did.  Its nothing phenomenal like Dirty Dancing but its not all bad.

ddhn dance

One good part of it was the Cuban music and the dancing.  I really liked those sequences a lot.  It was fun and sexy for the most part.  That was when the characters were elegant and cute and had a lot of chemistry. On the other hand with that said, it also means that I thought the story was choppy.  It was like, wait, huh? What happened? Now they’re together? When did that happen? It could be just being not being too involved in the first bit and then when they started the dancing, I started feeling more drawn to watch it.  Granted, they do have a lot of really cheesy parts and that comes to my second point.

dirty dancing hn dance

I’ve never seen Diego Luna before in anything but I have to hand it to you. He’s not handsome or attractive but he has a nice charm going on. I thought he was a much better actor than his partner played by Romola Garai.  It probably has to do with the fact that he’s the one that familiar with the culture they are exhibiting here, kind of.  I mean, at the very least, he has a Spanish accent (or what sounds like one).  And he has the dance style and what not that works for it. Romola Garai wasn’t as good.  She’s a pretty good dancer but her acting didn’t appeal to me as much.  It also didn’t help that their love story was a bit all over the place but like I said, the dancing and their chemistry together doing their sequences made it a lot better.

dirt dancing havana patrick swayze

Okay, I mentioned my third point already up there and that there is a small role for Patrick Swayze.  He’s not the young and charming Patrick Swayze that played Johnny Castle but hey, he can still bust a move and he’s still charismatic as ever. Seeing him in this, even for the little bits here and there made me a whole lot more interested 🙂

Overall, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is probably not a necessary non-remake/sequel/prequel but its an average movie.  It provides some well-choreographed dance sequences and some energetic Cuban music.  The young love really grows through their practice sequences.  The downfall is the choppy story and honestly, the ending kind of sucked.  No guarantees on this one its not one I’d exactly recommend but it provides decent entertainment when you have nothing else to watch and want some nice happy music 🙂

Have you seen Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights? Any thoughts? What do you think this is (or maybe you know) a remake or a prequel? Or maybe its just an excuse to drag in more audience?