Judge Franck Tabouring prefers stomping the basement.
Are you ready to stomp it up?
Sylvain White's 2007 dance flick Stomp the Yard grew into quite a profitable release, collecting more than $60 million at the box office, which quickly prompted a sequel: Stomp the Yard: Homecoming (Blu-ray). The follow-up didn't make an appearance in theaters, but is now available on DVD.
Collins Pennie stars as lead character Chance, a hard worker and enthusiastic street dancer who's stoked about joining the Theta Nu fraternity at Truth University. Chance is also looking forward to the big step competition that is scheduled to take place on campus during homecoming weekend, and he's been working hard with his team because he strongly believes they've got a shot at victory. Sadly for Chance, his growing personal problems quickly start to threaten his dreams, which eventually forces him to reconsider his priorities in order to make the best out of his situation.
It's pretty safe to say when you've seen one dance movie, you've seen them all. Stomp the Yard: Homecoming certainly doesn't add anything new to the genre, and its plot and characters are as predictable as the rest of them. Shallow and often cheesy at best, the story falls victim to the same old formula that has rendered most of these films utterly unremarkable. Consequently, it only takes a couple of minutes to understand why this sequel went straight to DVD.
In some cases, the quality of dancing prevents some films from qualifying as disasters, but this time around, even the stepping failed to impress me. There's definitely nothing wrong with the choreography or the way these guys execute their moves in Homecoming, but compared to other movies out there, these dance sequences are by far not intense or visually captivating enough to leave a mark. Some of the spins and jumps we get to observe here are fun to watch, but looking at it from a broader perspective, the stage performances lack the power to help overshadow the film's other flaws.
Speaking of flaws, the film overdramatizes the protagonist's journey from a kid in trouble to a college star. Before you know it, Chance's problems seem more annoying than compelling. Not only does Chance get in trouble for not helping his dad (Keith David) run his cherished restaurant, but he also struggles to keep his girlfriend all while trying to avoid a street gang pestering him for an unpaid debt. Oh, and did I mention Theta Nu's rivalry with another college stepping fraternity? This is just way too much content to stuff into a 88-minute film. As expected, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming comfortably deals with all this conflict by resolving it faster than it appears. Don't go look for any depth in any of these characters or themes.
Rob Hardy's film may not be engaging enough to keep your attention, but it sure all looks great in high definition. The Blu-ray disc boasts a superb 1.78:1 non-anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film that includes a sharp, clean image and strong, beautiful colors. The audio transfer impresses as well, with Sony's 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio track doing a great job at balancing dialogue, sound effects and soundtrack. Technically, this one's a winner. The bonus material includes deleted scenes, a short piece on the choreography, and a fairly amusing audio commentary with the filmmakers. The Blu-ray edition also includes a regular DVD version of the feature.
Simplistic dialogue, mediocre acting, and so-so dance sequences dominate Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, an unnecessary sequel that may appeal to diehard fans willing to look past weak storytelling and repetitive action. The film is not as boring as I feared, but the numerous weaknesses it's burdened with pretty much eliminate its chances to qualify as a satisfying viewing experience.
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