Stomp the Yard
Meagan’s character is named April … My birthday is in April … Coincidence?

Theatrical Release Date: 01/12/2007
Director: Sylvain White
Cast: Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Darrin Henson

I am again drawn to a film set in Atlanta chock full of Dirty South rap and, while I have a few misgivings which I’ll get to in a second, I have to say that I liked “Stomp the Yard” more than I thought I would.

The story is nothing original, the tale of a young man who feels responsible for his brother’s death and he tries to become a better person on behalf of his departed sibling.

The backdrop for the film is the fictional Truth University (for some amusement, see the responses to asking if this university exists on Yahoo!). The main conflict on campus is the National Step Championship competition and as luck would have it, the two best fraternity chapters in the nation reside at Truth U.

The rest of the story plays our like any other with a similar theme and while I’m being a tad facetious, this is essentially “Bring It On” with a better beat and more of a class conflict than a racial one.

The acting is decent and this is what surprised me the most. I had gone into the film just expecting Meagan Good to look ridiculously hot as always, some good music and hopefully some good choreography. Those elements were delivered for the most part (especially Good’s goods) and on top of that, the conflict between the characters felt sincere so kudos to the actors on that one.

An interesting tidbit I stumbled upon at IMDb was that the crowd during the step championships was real and unaware that a film was being shot. That speaks to the believability of the film’s actors and dancers.

Less interesting are the problems I had with the film. For some reason, the film tries to equate stepping as a tradition equal to the civil rights movement. Now, I’m not of the correct ethnicity to be an expert but from my outside perspective, even if you can trace stepping back in African-American culture, I don’t think hanging a photo of the winning squad in “Heritage Hall” next to civil rights leaders matches up … but that’s just me.

Another odd mismatch in the film was the use of music. For the most part, it’s hip hop – and some pretty good hip hop to boot. However, there are a few montages, including parts of the finale, that are set to an instrumental score that would fit in much better with “Varsity Blues” than in “Stomp the Yard”.

And where the film really falls short is the script, which I can’t say I’m surprised by since this was a January release (the biggest dumping ground for films). The film sets up well and gets nearly to the end without too big of a hitch but at some point the conflicts have to be resolved and instead of providing plausible penitence and redemption scenes, the main character expects his girlfriend to read his mind and her father has a change of heart faster than I’ve finished some meals.

Still, I enjoyed the film overall and if you had looked at this film with any interest, then feel free to give it a shot. I’m giving “Stomp the Yard” a 3 out of 5 and will hope not to see this sequalized and trivialized like with the “Bring It On” series … those are some terrible direct-to-video examples.