Stomp The Yard (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Stomp The Yard</strong> (2007)

(In theaters, February 2007) If ever you’ve wondered what would happen if you blended hip-hop music with Jackie Chan movie-making, don’t look any further: Stomp The Yard is this year’s 8 Mile in how it present a troubled youth’s redemption through suddenly-hot performing arts. For Eminem, it was poetry slams; this time around, it’s dance-stepping. But whereas 8 Mile was grim and dreary, this one’s all-out light and fun. The dance and song sequences have an irresistible energy, and they lift the film far above its terrible plot and dialogue. The protagonist isn’t unsympathetic despite his almost tiresome aggression, but that character trait feels like a dramatic shortcut in a film that can’t be bothered by subtlety. Elsewhere in the script, hideous coincidences and convenient back-stories make up the rest of what could laughably be called “plotting”. But just like a Jackie Chan film, the story is just an excuse to move from sequence to sequence. In this case, it’s easy to be forgiving as soon as the foot-stomping dance sequences start: The film suddenly becomes alive, bubbling with good fun and terrific camera work. (It could have used longer coverage shots, but that’s a common-enough complaint.) As far as teen movies go, this is surprisingly enjoyable.

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