STOMP THE YARD (Sylvain White). 115 minutes. Opens Friday (January 12). For venues and times, see Movies, page 68. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Stomp The Yard is like Fame mixed with a few touches of Boyz N The Hood, Animal House and Bring It On. Its subject is stepping (not to be confused with step dancing), a clapping, stomping dance style practised by black college fraternities in the U.S. The competitions are aggressive and deadly serious - the characters treat them as matters of life and death, and it's all very testosterone-y - but they still remind me of Bring It On.
The plot is as clichéd as they come: L.A. stepping champion DJ (Columbus Short), whose smarter brother is killed in a fight before five minutes of the film have elapsed, does his best to take his brother's place. He enrolls in university, pisses off the frat brothers, steals the step champion's girl and takes the number-two frat to the finals by streeting up their routine.
Sylvain White's resumé as a video director shows. The dance sequences look just like rap videos, and early on there's too much hand-held work in scenes that don't call for it. Short is good-looking, charismatic and a hell of a mover; it's a shame he's not in a better-written flick. But Stomp The Yard still worth seeing for the dancing, and for what may be the best argument in favour of the Greek system ever committed to film.