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Bring It On turns 15: A look back at the film's cheer-tastic sequels

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Ken Jacques

Bring It On turns 15 on Tuesday, and its status as the quintessential high-school cheerleading flick lives on. (Seriously, how many times have you said and acted out “These aren’t spirit fingers….These are spirit fingers!”?)

The direct-to-video sequels that followed the 2000 flick starring Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union in the battle between Toros and Clovers have contributed to that legacy. Namely, the four spirit stick-tastic follow-ups and their continued passion for pom-poms prove the enduring power of their inspiration.  

RELATED: See the stars of Bring It On, then and now

To celebrate the original film’s anniversary, we look back at the high-flying, high-energy sequels that followed — and remember some of their best cheer moments, fashions, and quotes. (Warning: Major cheer punnage ahead…) Ready? Ok!

BRING IT ON AGAIN (2004)

Break it down now:

Whittier (Anne Judson-Yager) is being groomed for captain but quits her California State College varsity cheer squad, along with her friend Monica (Faune Chambers Watkins), after suffering from current captain Tina’s (Bree Turner) crazy cheer-tator behavior. The friends then start their own team of misfits, the Renegades, and compete against their former team to see who will go to nationals.

“Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out” cheer moment:

In their public debut as a team, the Renegades cheer at a croquet match and are pretty lackluster at first. But things take a turn for the better when Whittier’s DJ love interest Derek (Richard Lee Jackson) shows up with tunes, inspiring spirit and some mild coordination from the team — and a score from the croquet player as a result! 

(Not so) fashion fabulous:

The varsity team pair pearls with their electric blue cheer uniforms. Pearls are great — just look at Audrey Hepburn — but seem pretty impractical for cheerleaders, especially the flyers. (Honorable mention: Whittier wears a full head of crimped hair to a cheer meeting with the dean that really dates itself.)

Best cheer-tastic quote:

“Whit, what is a sign without glitter? That is why nobody showed up!” —Monica on why no one tried out for their new squad

 

BRING IT ON: ALL OR NOTHING (2006)

John Johnson

Break it down now:

Pacific Vista Pirates cheer captain Britney (Hayden Panettiere) has to give up her authority when she moves to Crenshaw Heights where she doesn’t fit in (it’s a cheer-castrophe!). But she finds a place on her new school’s squad, the Warriors, led by Camille (Solange Knowles), forcing her to decide where her allegiance truly lies — especially when both teams face off in a competition ultimately judged by Rihanna (yeah, that Rihanna).

“Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out” cheer moment:

At the competition, Britney and the Warriors finally shut the Pirates’ new captain Winnie (Emme Rylan) — a jealous, backstabbing cheerleader who cheats with Britney’s quarterback boyfriend (Limitless’ Jake McDorman) — down by mimicking her routine and bringing a unique, krumping style to their own performance. Shabooya!

(Pretty) Fashion Fabulous:

The Warriors sport a wide array of camouflage in their cheer takedown (to the point where it looks like they bought out a surplus store), and while it’s a bit overwhelming in its excess, it’s a refreshing change of pace to the stiff uniforms seen across the cheer competition board.

Best cheer-tastic quote:

“Cheering with anyone else would make me….” —Britney

“…a cheer whore!” —Winnie

 

BRING IT ON: IN IT TO WIN IT (2007)

Break it down now:

Carson (Pretty Little Liar’s Ashley Benson) is determined to bring her West High Sharks to cheer camp championship victory — and finally beat long-time rivals, captain Brooke’s (Cassie Scerbo) East High Jets. Despite their differences, the two teams eventually form a supergroup, the Shets, to face their rival camp’s leading team, the Flamingos.

“Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out” cheer moment:

With its Sharks-Jets rivalry, and forbidden love between Carson and Jet Penn (Michael Copon), the series’ fourth installment is a clear nod to West Side Story. This extends to the so-bad-it’s-good cheer rumble (see video below), with the opposing squads snapping, cheering, and building their best and highest pyramids.  

(Somewhat) Fashion Fabulous:

In a show of togetherness, both teams piece together parts of their West Coast red and East Coast blue uniforms. The end result isn’t exactly fashion forward, but the symbolism is sweet — and it sure beats the black, white, and hot pink numbers that is the Flamingos’ uniforms.

Best cheer-tastic quote:

“Brooke, I don’t think you stole the spirit stick anymore.” —Carson

“Like I give a flying tuck what you think?!” —Brooke

 

BRING IT ON: FIGHT TO THE FINISH (2009)

Break it down now:

When her mother remarries, Lina (Christina Milian) must leave her beloved East L.A. cheer squad behind and move to Malibu. Eventually, Lina whips her new school’s cheer squad, the Sea Lions, into shape and fuses them with her former team to square off against the all-star Jaguars, led by the mean-spirited Avery (Rachele Brooke Smith), who happens to be the sister of Lina’s love interest, Evan (Cody Longo). 

“Awesome, oh wow, like totally freak me out” cheer moment:

In another opening dream sequence for the series, Lina’s East L.A. squad challenges a spirit championship-winning team of tough guys who show off their moves to Down AKA Kilo’s “Lean Like A Cholo.” But Lina’s team brings it with a high-spirited, high-flying routine. Being a dream sequence, though, the opener soon heads into weird, nightmare territory, but its start is gold.

(Very) Fashion Fabulous:

Lina’s shy stepsister Skyler (Holland Roden) comes out of her shell when Lina and her mother makeover Skyler’s all-around unflattering party dress into a sleek, polka dot strapless number — the perfect ensemble to show her party prowess. (Runner up: Lina’s red sequin bra, paired with jeans and a red jacket that’s just totally cool in a down-to-earth way.)

Best cheer-tastic quote:

“Someone just had a cheer-gasm!” —Skyler teasing Lina about her crush on Evan 

What do you think of the Bring It On sequels? What are some of your favorite moments? Let us know in the comments below!

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