Published Jan 24, 2008Canada throws its hat into the Stomp the Yard dance genre ring, only without the emotional heft or the pleasure of the dancing youd normally expect.
Where the American version would have a desperate young black person clawing their way up via killer moves and Horatio Alger elbow grease, this assumes that its female protagonist was on her way to academic glory before a death in her family killed her tuition to an elite private school. Her descent back into inner-city hell is naturally cushioned by the entry into step-dance competition, earning her a bad girl rival and head-spinning politics in terms of who dances with who and who deserves to run a crew.
Those politics might have earned the film a star for complexity if the characters were better drawn and the performers a little more charismatic but the dialogue is mostly functional and the actors never quite assert themselves as people doing more than saying lines. The dull spin on the thematics gives it a sort of spinster/schoolteacher flavour, and the bland visuals make the whole thing seem pretty flat not enough to make you hate it, but enough to make you remember the movies its aping with more fondness than they probably deserve.
All this I could accept if the film had some kick-ass dance sequences, but Ian Iqbal Rashid directs them with the same pokey flavour as the dialogue scenes. Theres no triumph, dynamism or sensuality, just a bunch of people stepping and hoping you dont boo them off the stage.
The good intentions of the thing make it easy enough to watch, but this is nothing you cant get better stateside. (Mongrel Media)