Put the American who won 2013’s Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography, and the Queen of Korean Pop in 1 movie, and you can bet not just sparks, but tickets will fly.

Derek Hough and BoA Kwon play Donny and Aya, who immediately captivate the tough audience during a bar-top dance-off at New York’s hottest underground club, Static. Giving old school tap a hip update, the pair work at outdoing each other, with Aya just 1 step from menacingly stomping on the crotch of The Dancing With The Stars hunk. And wouldn’t you know this would be the fastest way to kindle their mutual attraction.

To give it that heart-wrenching Romeo & Juliet slant, director-writer Duan Adler created massive opposition to their budding romance by their kin. You see, their brothers who were partners, are now archrivals in the clubbing scene.

But the plot of Make Your Move (previously known as Cobu) is really rather irrelevant. Most people will be there to see if BoA, who clinched an enviable 9th position on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play chart in 2008 with American single “Eat You Up”, can also win over American/international audiences with her dance moves in her acting debut.

An Asian leading lady who doesn’t have to brandish martial arts or be confined to only exploring Asian-American angst is a rarity in a Hollywood picture. But BoA, who’s more than competent in the dance and acting departments, and also fluently conversant in English, Japanese and naturally Korean, has set the bar high for any other Asian pop star hoping to break into LA or New York.

No slouch himself, countryman Yunho (stage name: U-Know), from pop group DBSK, shows what makes his fans (Cassiopeia) go oh-so-crazy for him. With a killer smile and charismatic persona, he made a guest appearance as a performer, executing sleek moves, nearly comparable to the legendary Michael Jackson. This may not be due only to imitation either as Yunho personally trained with those who worked closely with the late King of Pop during the production of the This Is Itconcert.

Even with the overall film aesthetic being substantially pleasing and enjoyable, a few grainy night shots that were blatantly evident due to poor lighting, added to the injustice served.

Diverse dance sets cleverly weaving in a fusion of traditional and unexpected elements such as tap dancing, Japanese drum Taiko and trapeze were created by Emmy Award-winning choreographer couple Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, Yako Miyamoto, and dancer Nick Gonzalez).

They also arranged for the star-crossed lovers to share their intimate moments through electrifyingly sensual dance routines.

Contrary to the typically powerful and heart-thumping hip hop beats that accompany bold dance movements in Save the Last Dance(2001)and Step Up (2006), which were also written by Adler, Make Your Move featured ballads like Let Me In by Michael Corcoran which presented a pleasant melody that complemented the sophisticated and slower dance moves. Fantastic and experienced dancers in their own genre, BoA and Derek performed top-notch dance sequences so seamlessly that may have the average dancers tripping over their own feet if not practiced hard enough. The same can’t be said about BoA’s dance mates when 80% of their performances were behind the Taiko drums, toning down the anticipation that viewers may have had for every dance sequence.

Although the final dance sequence in Step Up 2: The Streets wins hands-down for the creative use of spraying rain with improvised krumping and breaking, those looking for vigorous passion and excitement that tends to appeal to more hot-blooded youths won’t be shortchanged. Look forward to Donny surprising Aya and at the same time, stealing the show with his brilliant idea of combining tap dance rhythms and Taiko drum beats. To celebrate the joyous mood, a rain of flowers showered the couple that continued dancing in their happy bubble.

With little left to the imagination from the predictable plot, this movie is more about putting a groove to your step and showing us what it means to dance with your heart.

Make Your Move trailer: https://youtu.be/os9Z9zNmkHU

Rating: 3/5

Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

Runtime: 111 mins

Language: English

Censorship Rating: PG13

Genre: Musical

Director: Duane Adler

Main Cast: Derek Hough, BoA Kwon, Wesley Jonathan