DVD Review: 'Stomp the Yard'
Extras give props to stepping
DJ (Columbus Short) is starting his life over after his brother was killed by a rival step gang in Los Angeles. On the opposite coast, he finds himself attending Truth University where he gets involved with a beautiful girl (Meagan Good) and a rivalry between two fraternities that demonstrate their mastery of the campus through "stomping the yard."
The amount of respect the filmmakers approached stepping is evident in the bonus features, especially the "Battles. Rivals. Brothers" featurette. Director Sylvain White researched the rhythmic dance battles throughout the country to get the feel for the activity and the people who lived it. He also studied samurai and kung fu films for their sense of drama and their action photography. Short and the other actors chime in about how much effort they put into each of the dance sequences, including the contest-winning "deglaze" armstand.
Similarly, the commentary shows just how seriously the filmmakers were in creating the perfect shots. White, editor David Checel and cinematographer Scott Kevan address the use of the skinny shutter to create almost a strobe effect for the dancing, the use of thematic colored lighting in the dance club, the dedication of the actors and dancers, how the atmosphere on set contributed to the feelings of animosity between the fraternities and just how much was freestyle.
Fans of krumping will get to watch even more energetic battle action in the two extended dance sequences from the film's opening. It's easy to see why "The Clean Up" deleted scene was left on the cutting room floor though. In a nod to Short's "Stomp" roots, his character DJ and his frat brothers turn their chore into an rhythmic routine. The problem is, this feels far too contrived, like a soda commercial where everyone breaks into song.
BONUS: Audio commentary; "Battles. Rivals. Brothers" featurette; extended dance sequences; "The Clean Up" deleted scene; gag reel