How She Move
Review by Jack Foley
IAN Iqbal Rashid’s How She Move finds itself on the back foot from the start given its similarity to other dance-based movies such as Step Up and Stomp The Yard.
It’s notable for having been shot in a grittier style than usual and features some typically impressive dance routines. But it never manages to escape that “been there, seen it all before” quality.
Raya Green (Rutina Wesley) is the daughter of two Jamaican immigrants whose potential is put to the test when her older sister dies from a drug overdose, forcing her to return to her drug and crime-infested neighbourhood from the exclusive Seaton Academy (which her family can no longer afford).
Faced with the scornful abuse of former friends who now view her as a traitor, Raya subsequently learns about a step competition with a $50,000 cash prize that could pay her way back to Seaton. So, she persuades reigning local steppin’ champ Bishop (Dwain Murphy) to let her join his crew.
But the path to the final is fraught with tension and Raya’s loyalties are soon put to the test as she desperately attempts to overcome the many obstacles put in her path by friends, family and potential love interests.
To be fair, Rashid’s cast of relative unknowns acquit themselves well in the typically clichéd roles, with Rutina Wesley standing out as Raya, and the numerous dance routines clearly required a great deal of physical devotion from all concerned.
But Annmarie Morais’ screenplay never once steps away from formula and quickly becomes stifled by its easy predictability. What’s left is a film that thrives on the energy of its pumped-up soundtrack and breathless dance sequences but which loses its rhythm badly during the quieter moments.
Had it arrived on our screens before the likes of Step Up or Stomp The Yard it might have seemed more fresh and innovative. Instead, it’s likely to appeal to only the most devoted dance movie followers.
Running time: 93mins
UK DVD Release: August 4, 2008