REVIEW: Make Your Move (2013)

Enter a Romeo and Juliet story centered around music and dance, minus teen suicide…and a connectable romance.

By Raymond Arcega
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Make Your Move

Korean title: 메이크 유어 무브
Year: 2013
Country: Korea, USA
Languages: English, Japanese, Korean
Genres: Romantic Drama, Musical
Director: Duane Adler

Donny (Derek Hough) is a parolee who picks up extra cash by dancing on the street against his parole officers demands. Fed up with not being able to dance, Donny skips town to Brooklyn to stay with his foster brother Nick (Wesley Jonathan).


To his surprise, Donny walks right into the middle of a heated business rivalry between Nick and his former partner Kaz (Will Yun Lee). Both run night clubs in different parts of town, and they both will stop at nothing to see the other’s fail.

Also in the middle of the rivalry is Kaz’s younger sister Aya (BoA) – a dancer who has dreams performing on a professional stage with her taiko-dance fusion group Cobu. Aya and Donny meet and fall for each other. They become determined to get their families to make peace.

Backed by CJ Entertainment and SM Entertainment themselves, Make Your Move attempts to penetrate Hollywood with K-Pop. It uses a fearsome force to do it in the form of BoA, one of the biggest names in the business. The production of this film was announced several years prior to its release, leaving many K-Pop fans waiting in anticipation. Whether the result was worth the wait will be dependent on how much one can be seduced by BoA’s smile.


The film takes its inspiration from Romeo and Juliet (without the whole teen suicide thing), in which a boy and a girl, each from opposing families at war, fall in love with each other. It’s been the basis for many films and is, as many might argue, quite overplayed. But it’s okay; Make Your Move is a dance flick starring the Korean pop queen herself, so all can be forgiven, right?

Let’s start by giving credit where it’s due. The dance choreography was excellent, as expected from the work of Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo. If you haven’t seen their work on So You Think You Can Dance, then you can see what they can do in BoA’s video for “Only One”. Watching the choreography in Make Your Move almost like watching one of BoA’s videos come to life.


The taiko-dance fusion concept is really neat too. The Cobu girls would play the drums to accompany the music, and fuse dance moves into their performance. It’s something a fan wouldn’t mind paying money to see if it were a real thing.

However, the chemistry between the on-screen couple of BoA and Derek Hough felt a bit flat in anything other the dance sequences. In an attempt to convince the audience that they were down to pork, the choreography included a hundred and one moments in which they would position their faces really close to each other, looking into each other’s eyes.


Whether it was either actor’s acting inexperience, or because this kind of story has been beaten to death, the love story of Aya and Donny was as believable as a notion that Korea could ever penetrate Hollywood with its music.

If the film was a series of shorts – music/dance videos with the same story – the concept that might have worked. But, as a feature-length film, the film lacked a lot. It lacked a real engaging story, unique characters, and the chemistry much needed to sell a romantic piece. There’s only so much what looking into the other’s eyes can sell to the audience.


But let’s get real. This film (and every other one in the same genre) is like porn. The things that we really only want to watch are the sex dance scenes. The “story”…well, if giving your sex dance sequences context makes the experience better for you, then they are there for your enjoyment.

Overall, the film was fluff, and designed to be cute and feel-good. If you’re looking for a film that just does that, then this may a fun one to watch. For those in need of something with more drama, tension, and overall substance, then you may be disappointed.

Watch this film…

…if you’re a fan of BoA, dance, music, and fluff.

About the Author

Raymond Arcega


Follow Ray on Twitter and chat with a fellow cinema nut. He also tweets about tokusatsu, assorted geekery, and life and adventures in Japanland.