Monday, 28 September 2020
Stomp the Yard
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 16 January 2007 00:00
One bleak and stormy night (the night before my deadline of course) I headed out into the snow-covered tundra in my frosty little Civic. The movie theatre is usually a beacon of buttered pop-corny warmth, but not so on this particular night. The reason for my unenthusiastic journey wasn’t just the raging storm, but rather the lack of any interesting movies to choose from! Sorry but, for me, the choice between Alpha Dog and Stomp the Yard was like picking a method of torture. I chose Stomp the Yard because it was 4 minutes shorter, and I was able to sucker someone into seeing it with me. Never let it be said that I don’t take this job seriously!

The story portion of Stomp the Yard is cliché ridden and forgettable. That is, it would be forgettable if you could forget something so formulaic. Underdog faces obstacles; underdog meets girl; underdog overcomes obstacles; underdog is no longer the underdog. In this case said underdog is a young man named DJ, played by the charismatic Columbus Short. After the shooting death of his brother, DJ he is plagued by guilt and decides to live up to his family’s dreams of getting a university education. Once on campus he has trouble fitting until his natural talent as a dancer puts him in demand. He becomes the key player in a stepping competition between warring fraternities. Of course along the way he meets a girl (Meagan Good) who happens to be the girlfriend of his biggest enemy. A typical Romeo and Juliet style romance ensues.

If you don’t know what stepping is, I’m probably not the best person to ask. Nothing I found on the internet looked like anything shown in the movie. I’m still not a hundred percent clear on it, but my impression is that of a street hybrid of tap-dancing and cheerleading. That sounds pretty strange, but the results are actually pretty cool blending choreography and natural percussion. The dance scenes in this movie are its redeeming factor even though some are ruined by choppy camera work. The opening dance number was so flashy that it gave me an instant headache, bringing to mind strobe lights and Chemical Brothers music videos. On the plus side, the movies star is a professional choreographer in real life and infuses the dance routines with a lot of power and energy.

Stomp the Yard tries hard to gain our sympathies by pretending it has an important message. It even has an unrelated Martin Luther King Jr. quote tacked on at the end. But when you boil it down it’s just a typical movie about a dance competition and no more inspirational than Save the Last Dance or Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights.

I give Stomp the Yard 4 out of 10.