Dir/scr: Adam Wong. Hong Kong, China. 2013. 110mins
A Hong Kong spin on the hip hop dance movie – which has proved highly successful with films such as the StreetDance and Step Up series – the enjoyably frothy The Way We Dance might lack the sheer brilliant dance edginess of other films of the genre, but it is engagingly entertaining despite its lapses into simplistic melodrama which hamper the momentum that might help it appeal to international dance-loving audiences.
It is a nicely youth-orientated attempt to link into the still popular film genre, and offers Cherry Ngan a great platform for her talents.
The film, which had its world premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival as well as Filmart, is given its note of charm, however, by the exuberant and graceful performance by actress/model Cherry Ngan, who only made her film debut in 2012 with roles in Night Fall and Floating City.
She stars as young wannabe street dancer Fleur, a hip hop natural who puts her parents’ tofu business behind her when she goes to a Hong Kong University and joins college dance crew BombA. The crew’s main ambition is to defeat their archrivals, Rooftoppers. Fleur takes a shine to the crew’s leader Dave, but he only has eyes for sexy teammate Rebecca.
But when Rebecca – supported vaguely by Dave (Lockman Yeung) – makes fun of Fleur’s more radical dance moves (poking fun at her for dancing like a fiddler crab), Fleur storms off. Meanwhile apparently straight-laced Alan (Babyjohn Choi), the chairman of the University’s Tai Chi Club, takes a shine to Fleur and her moves and against the odds she is slowly won over by the graceful Tai Chi moves.
Just when Fleur decides to re-join BombA she hurts her ankle, confining her to a wheelchair for three months. But just as she reaches rock bottom she meets Stormy (Tommy “Guns” Ly), the leader of the Rooftoppers, who reveals what has happened to him and how it has influenced his dance style, giving her hope and determination to create a new street dance style.
The choreography by Shing Mak is suitably racy and dynamic, though the fact that writer/director Adam Wong favours a fairly static camera means that the routines, while impressively staged, lack a certain dynamism. There are perhaps too many subplots – such as sexy dancer Rebecca’s sideways move into posing as a manga character as part of televised competitions and the background to Alan’s enthusiasm for Tai Chi – which slows the pacing when the film should be keeping it much more tight and exciting. But it is a nicely youth-orientated attempt to link into the still popular film genre, and offers Cherry Ngan a great platform for her talents.
Production companies: Golden Scene, Eyes Front Pictures
International sales: Golden Scene Company Ltd., firstname.lastname@example.org
Producers: Saville Chan, Wong Yat Ping
Cinematography: Cheng Siu-Keung
Main cast: Cherry Ngan, Babyjohn Choi, Lokman Yeung, Tommy ‘Guns’ Ly, Paul Wong