“Make Your Move” – hot dance romance tears up the screen – film review

“Make Your Move” – hot dance romance tears up the screen – film review

“Give up the girl.”

“Not a chance.”

Investing that response with conviction is celebrity (pro) dancer from TV’s Dancing with the Stars Derek Hough, who stars opposite Korean cutie, K-Pop dance sensation and megastar BoA in Make Your Move, opening in selected cinemas in L.A. later this month. The pair play star-crossed lovers in this fresh, urban take on the classic ‘Romeo & Juliet’ tale, converting the formula from a tragedy to a dance-infused romantic drama. Our leads have dynamic talent and an intense chemistry that burns up the screen. The supporting cast is fantastic as well.

Hough’s character Donny has a dark past… First seen setting the New Orleans’ pavement alight with his fancy modern tap dancing moves as a street busker—complete with a hat to collect change—we learn he’s straight out of prison after doing time for running with an unsavory crowd of grifters adept at fleecing tourists. With his parole officer breathing down his neck, Donny skips parole and hoofs it back to his home turf of Brooklyn where he has a chance to dance at his adopted brother’s sizzling nightclub. But bro (Nick – played by Wesley Jonathan) is enmeshed in an ugly rivalry with former partner Kaz (a superb performance from Will Yun Lee) that threatens his livelihood. When Donny falls for Kaz’s younger sister Aya (gorgeous pop star BoA)—the leader of Cobu, an all-girl, hip-hop taiko drumming crew, herself facing an uncertain future—all the drama swirling around them just fades away, at least temporarily…

Writer/Director Duane Adler (the writer who brought us Step Up and Save the Last Dance) has fashioned a solid screenplay that has the right amount of formulaic elements to make it work, yet enough complexity to keep you guessing. There’s a point when you really have no idea if it’s all going to resolve—and how? There’s plenty of hope and promise and that’s one aspect that makes this movie an especially rewarding experience.

The dialogue is bright and authentic—people say what you would say, and even surprise you a few times. (“I’m calling the cops!”  “Good luck — a pizza’ll get here faster!”) Adler deftly sketches in just the perfect amount of relevant backstory without it ever feeling obvious or expository and, above all, makes you care about these characters and their fates. A highlight is a mutual seduction dance sequence that has our young lovers dancing each other out of their clothes in a novel and sexy fashion.

At the helm, Adler has assembled an exceptional cast and extracted excellent performances from each of them. Triple-threat and highly talented lead BoA is a treat for the eyes—those cute dimples and sparkling eyes shimmer behind her tough girl front, and boy does she ever have the right moves. Tech credits are first rate, especially the new songs and original score composed by Michael Corcoran and Eric Goldman as well as the song selection (essential for a film with numerous yet organically motivated dance sequences, as beautifully choreographed by Napoleon Dumo and Tabitha Dumo). Demonstrating a flair for his medium, Adler shoots his young stars in gorgeous light, expertly filming and cross cutting and shaping his story beautifully. Cinematography is by Gregory Middleton.

Sure, you’ve seen this saga before, but you probably haven’t seen taiko drumming to dub step underscoring plus all kinds of dreamy, fluid modern and hip-hop dancing in one sweet movie, so now you can!

Make Your Move opens in select cinemas in L.A. on April 18, 2014.

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.



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