Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Ryan Jackson Jr. (Shedrack Anderson III) and his little brother, or maybe his big brother Jason Jackson (Christopher Facey) are having issues with one another. I’m thinking Ryan is the little brother because he looks and acts like a little brother but then he’s a Junior and normally the first born son gets the honor of being a Junior so it beats the hell out of me. They might have informed me of the birth order of the two warring siblings in this movie ‘Stompin’ but there was a good chance that I wasn’t paying attention as ‘Stompin’ didn’t do to good a job of holding my attention. Anyway, Ryan Jr. and Jason hate each other, or more accurately Ryan Jr. hates Jason because their father Ryan Sr. (Sinbad) seems to favor Jason, who is a star baseball player at the local U and has pro prospects, as opposed to his other son who is merely headed to Medical School. And Ryan Jr. likes to step for his frat Alpha Phi Alpha which also seems to upset Ryan Sr. an awful lot.  Mother Jackson (Vanessa Bell Calloway) tries to mediate, but the rift between the boys and the father appears to be irreparable.

So back at school we have Jason, who belongs to the competing frat Kappa Alpha Psi, plays baseball and pursues the lovely Camille Turner (Caryn Ward) to be his main girl. The problem with that is Camille used to belong to the rather angry Ryan Jr. until he cheated on her or something but now he has decided wants her back. Why does Jason break the unwritten but clearly stated man-rule of pursuing the ex-girlfriend of a good friend or a brother remains a mystery to us, but there he goes. The thing is that Jason has a perfectly good girl in waiting in the visage of the very pretty Susan (Paige Bryan – Sinbad’s real life baby girl) who is always there for Jason when called upon, but alas Jason treats her like a good buddy even though Susan wants oh so much more.

Things come to a head between the brothers when Ryan Jr. snatches the good luck charm from Jason’s neck, just like a bratty little brother would do, with the relevance of this charm being that it apparently provides Jason with his baseball mojo. Without it

Jason is like Samson without his hair and he starts stinking up the diamond something fierce, but even though he’s striking out on the baseball field he’s still finding the time to go all the way around the bases with his brother’s girlfriend – and amazingly, Ryan Jr. still wants her. I mean she is cute and all and is possession of one of the world’s nicest, roundest booties… but damn.

Anyway, the brothers get into a big ol’ fist fight and both realize that they need to squash this silly feud and come to terms with whatever it is that is keeping them apart before they turn into bitter old hateful men, until a terrible tragedy strikes which just might keep the brothers apart forever.

Directed by Nate Thomas ‘Stompin’ simply really wasn’t a very good movie. There are a number of problems plaguing the film but probably the most obvious is that it comes rather quickly off the heels as the Straight to DVD representative of the movie ‘Stomp the Yard’, a flick that I personally wasn’t too thrilled with saying that I like it better when it was called ‘Drumline’, but it was still infinitely better than ‘Stompin’. I hate to compare the two because they really are different movies but the comparisons are nonetheless inevitable. For starters, the Stepping in ‘Stompin’ is lackluster at best. The stepping might be more authentic than the slickly over produced stepping in ‘Stomp the Yard’ but that makes for far better cinema than the low key passionless stepping presented in this film. Instead the bulk of the movie is dedicated to the relationship between the two brothers and the problem with this approach is that neither brother was even remotely endearing to the audience. Shedrack Anderson’s Ryan Jr. was a hateful brat and Christopher Facey’s Jason was a selfish prick. Then toss in Sinbad’s portrayal as a father who seems to genuinely dislike a son who is on his way to Medical School for the love of God, and lest we forget our two timing whore of a girlfriend, and you have a movie filled to the brim with unlikable characters. Vanessa Bell Calloway and Paige Bryan did manage to provide some much needed warmth to the characters in the film, but the movie wasn’t about them.

And to be a movie called ‘Stompin’ there wasn’t a whole lot of stompin’ going on, and for that matter the stepping that was happening really didn’t figure much into the actual plot of the movie. There was a side story of an upstart sorority challenging to be recognized as a legitimate organization, but aside from the fact the girls in the sorority were mighty nice looking it wasn’t integrated all that well into the main narrative, and the same could be said for our Omega Psi Phi comic relief character who again served no real purpose other than to act silly and hopefully bring some levity to our downer main characters.

In the final wash ‘Stompin’ was a series of disconnected units that never really came together to make a complete, cognizant and interesting movie. There were some good performances put in by most of the cast members but unfortunately their performances couldn’t overcome the lackluster story elements and the lack of energy that ended up making ‘Stompin’ a chore to watch.

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