You know the moves. A ghetto 'gangsta' decides to Step Up and Take The Lead, bust his stuff on the dance floor and earn the respect of his posher peers. That's the breakdown for Stomp The Yard and it makes little impact except for a few furiously kinetic dance scenes fronted by Columbus Short. Unfortunately for him and director Sylvain White, the naff melodrama that plays out in between stops the show dead in its tracks.
It doesn't take long before someone gets gunned down in 'da hood' and that someone happens to be DJ's brother. He bleeds to death in DJ's arms in a scene that is to urban drama what the dying-soldier-reminiscing-about-the-farm-in-Ohio is to World War II films. DJ immediately gets shipped off to college where he works out his aggression through the art of 'stepping', a madcap hip-hop dance style that admittedly makes for some jaw dropping set-pieces.
However, White lingers too long on the gymnastics, perhaps inevitable since he's otherwise lumbered with a clumsy romance plot. Sadly the combination produces something like one of those overblown touchy-feely Nike ads. Among the soapy intrigues, DJ's rival in a dance competition (Darrin Henson) also happens to be dating the girl he fancies (Meagan Good), but the writers go a step too far in embroiling DJ's parents in a love quadrangle. There's also a cloying message about 'the true meaning of fraternity' sure to make even the original Band Of Brothers grit their teeth. The Yard is a minefield of clichés - step at your peril.
Stomp The Yard is released in UK cinemas on Friday 16th March 2007.