In Sound Off we see the story of a hip hop music producer struggling to make ends meet and have his music accepted. With a serious chip on his shoulder there is hope in the future but he has reason to not have much confidence. True to the history of the music, and the heart of his music, Rippa has a lot to learn, thankfully along the way, despite his attitude, and the enemies he has made, he also has a few friends to watch his back. After being robbed of all of the tools of the trade, Rippa learns some valuable lessons as he seeks to win a regional contest that will help solve some of his problems, hopefully in the process; he will get the push he needs to have his music recognized and appreciated.
Step Off stars Conrad Clifton as Rippa. To say that Clifton stars in this movie is a sort of exaggeration as one would assume that there is serious acting taking place. Unfortunately, it is hard to take any of the technical components of this film seriously outside of the plot. There is a poor script to support the themes, and virtually everything else is weak, from the editing, to the lighting, and from the dialog to the cinematography. As hard as it is to think, in a movie with music as a background, even the music is weak, with the possible exception of the last 15 minutes and a few glimpses of potential. While there is at times promise, promises can be broken and all too often Step Off makes enduring, potentially positive promises, only to be broken. With so many promises and so much let down, are there positives? I think so, read on.
Step Off starts off following the struggles of Rippa, a producer with problems all around him. From producing for battles with his music, only to be beat out by more crowd pleasing musicians who likely have family in the audience to having school debt, child support payments due for a son, and on top of everything else, getting ripped off by having his music stolen and used by another producer and then being robbed of all the tools of his trade and having to depend on his friends to help him get by. His friends come through and while visiting a music store, looking at some old school music he comes across someone who helps him understand the purpose of music and how to listen to it to understand its heart. In the process, Rippa’s manager tries to help he has had to deal far too often with Rippa’s attitude. Rippa develops a relationship with a female film producer working on a documentary movie. The relationship develops and although it is poorly acted, is somewhat entertaining and contagious in having us understand the characters.
Music is a powerful, spiritual tool that can reach multitudes. We all have our own favorites, one of the things I have learned through my musical experience is an appreciation of most all styles, including hip hop and good beats. This movie helps show the struggles many musicians go through regarding egos and experiences. I am somewhat eclectic in my taste. One of the things I liked was seeing that each individual has their own struggles and that the ability to persevere is critical for each person. In my faith, the recognition that there is a spirit within me that enables me to be more is critical to my success. Others in my faith become like family, they help along the way to overcome. The character of Rippa, the things he has to endure, and the people along the way are similar. One has to find more within themselves to help them be more, and in the process, the friends one becomes close to helps you when the times are tough. In one scene after Rippa starts to recognize that he is producing good music, we see him looking over the city. The night scene is a reminder that in darkness, there can be light, but to bring light to darkness there has to be light within the individual. For many that brightness is a result of their faith, for Rippa, it is his music. His friends, faith and confidence in himself, and his music cause the light to illuminate even brighter to those around him.
Technically, I can’t say much good about Step Off. I have seen worse movies technically, but not many. It is truly sad to see a movie, a concept with so much potential go do dreadfully wrong. The story and plot has been portrayed many times; the back drop of music production is an interesting theme and concept that deserved better.
Despite having some interesting and decent special features on the DVD, I can’t recommend it. It would have been nice to see some decent production put into this movie, it could have had an audience that would have made it worthwhile. It is sad to see promise in something and then it to not deliver. Broken Promises can have irreparable harm. The culprits in Step Off aren’t quite there for me but many more broken promises will have me, refusing to watch empty promises again.
To see the trailer for Step Off click on the video posted below. If the video isn’t at full scale or doesn’t show up, click on the following link:
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