Make Your Move (2013)
Cast includes: Derek Hough (Dancing with the Stars), BoA (Love Me Not), Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine), Wesley Jonathan (Crossover), Michael Griffiths (Red)
Writer/Director: Duane Adler (Save the Last Dance, Step Up)
Genre: Drama | Romance | Music | Dance (110 minutes)
Release date: April 18
Tap is Donny’s specialty as a New Orleans’s street performer. “What he does with his feet has never been seen on Bourbon Street.” The impromptu audience is appreciative and generous when the hat is passed… until the cops break it up. “Show’s over. Move it.” Donny is in violation of his parole, and they’re shutting him down. Meanwhile, Donny’s “brother” is the co-owner of “the #1 dance place in New York.” Donny’s fed up playing cat and mouse with the cops. Nick’s underground dance club is hiring and Donny’s going to New York. When Donny gets to Static, Nick’s club, we see that it’s a converted Brooklyn warehouse. By day, it’s gritty and rough. By night, it’s standing room only. Today Cobu, a Taiko-drumming girl group is practicing in the back… until Nick breaks it up and confiscates the drums. That’s when Donny first sees Aya, the group’s leader. Aya’s brother Kaz used to be Nick’s partner until he got involved with that Wall Street sleaze, Michael, and now the partnership is over and there’s bad blood… really bad blood.
Kaz wants Aya to come work for Michael at the new club… otherwise, her visa is up in 3 weeks and she’ll have to go back to Japan. Aya’s got a different idea for getting her visa extended, and it definitely doesn’t involve Michael. That night, in an audacious stunt to retrieve the drums, Aya and Cobu roll the drums on stage and start performing. The audience goes wild. Eventually Aya jumps up on the bar and dances. That’s when Donny gets an idea for introducing himself. He improvises tap shoes and jumps up on the bar, too. The 2 of them artfully duel in dance… until Nick’s bouncers violently break it up. The battle lines couldn’t be clearer… Koz on one side and Nick on the other… except that Nick’s brother has fallen in love with Koz’s sister. Aya tries to push Donny away. After all, their brothers are enemies. “You know I’m not into all that,” says Donny. “You’re in it now,” says Aya. But Donny’s not going away without finishing the dance.
Dance is everything in this modern-day Romeo and Juliet story. It’s an athletic, pulsing fusion of styles from hip-hop to tap to Taiko to modern ballet… with a soundtrack that’s a combination of pre-recorded and live music. Derek Hough (2013 Emmy, Outstanding Choreography), who plays Donny, may be best known for his appearances on Dancing With the Stars. BoA, who plays Aya, is a multi-talented Korean pop singer, dancer and actor, who performs throughout Asia. The choreography, dancing, music and cinematography in Make Your Move are all outstanding, as is the visual look of this film. The script and acting are not at the same level… occasionally with notes that are so off, they cause audience snickers in inappropriate places. Writer/director Duane Adler specializes in dance movies and clearly doesn’t focus as much attention on the parts between dance sequences. Some viewers will have a problem with that. Fortunately, if you enjoy watching great dance, that’s mostly what you’ll get in Make Your Move.
2 popped kernels
When a tap dancer from New Orleans meets a Taiko drummer/dancer from Japan the fusion makes sparks fly
Audience: Teens & Young Adults
Gender Style: Macho-Bold
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism
Nutshell: Modern-day Romeo & Juliet
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment