Reel Shorts | Step Up 3D

6 08 2010

This feature first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

As film technology continues to overshadow story, it makes perfect sense that a 3-D movie with amazing action but zero story would find an audience. While slightly superior to the first two films in the franchise, “Step Up 3D” features eye-popping dance sequences with possibly the worst dialogue uttered in a long time!

While “Step Up 2 The Streets” presented a motley crew that literally saved their best for last, the latest film centers on one of that film’s alums, Moose (Adam Sevani) as he prepares to enroll at NYU. He’s not on campus a hot minute before he finds himself in a contentious dance battle with members of the House of Samurai (yep, that’s right!). Peeping his moves is aspiring filmmaker, Luke (Rick Malambri) who recruits the young upstart to his crew, The House of Pirates (I’m not making this up).

Ever the keen judge of talent, Luke also spots the sexy Natalie (newcomer Sharni Vinson), who serves as his love interest. Along with Moose, they are given a home in crowded loft filled with dancers all united to prepare for the World Jam competition where the winner will take home $100,000. Before Luke’s crew can take home the top prize, they must battle former crew member, Julian (Joe Slaughter), who leads the rival Pirates.

Behind six months on his mortgage, Luke and his crew of dancers need to win the top prize to save their house. With the bank threatening foreclosure, Luke whips his latest team members Moose and Camille into shape. Director Jon Chu and screenwriters Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer and Duane Adler only give the audience enough story to get to the elaborately planned dance scenes, and there are plenty of them.

In this mysterious fantasy world of competitive dance, the filmmakers prove they can stage a dance scene anywhere. Battles break out in bathrooms, lofts, parks and smoke-filled rooms. But not all of the dance sequences are the customary moves you expect in these films, but include other forms like capoeira, the tango and even a playful, well-done homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

While the dancing is creatively stunning, the dialogue and acting is absolutely putrid. No film this year has as many unintentionally funny moments and cheesy lines as this “step down”: “Dance can change things… it can give you hope,” utters the clueless Moose. The majority of the screenplay engages in a series of unintentionally “master of the obvious” moments where characters deliver lines that leave the impression that even they don’t believe what they’re saying.

Dance movies have come a long way since the 1980s but the lack of African-Americans in key roles is disappointing. Whether it is a case of the filmmakers trying to appeal to mainstream audiences or sending a signal to the world that aggressive competitive break dancing is not just a “black thing,” it seems that everybody but the brothers get into the act!

Chu’s 3D spectacular has plenty of visual moments, including some that don’t make much sense but are creatively fun to look at. The movie may have worked better re-envisioned as a musical with little dialogue. It is the quintessential film for an audience interested in style with absolutely no regard for substance.

Grade: D+               

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3 responses

9 08 2010
Jan

I can agree with your posting, why why must they do this bad bad Hollywood. Even the older break dancing movies had better dialogs.lol

9 08 2010
Sherry Rowe

Wow, this is amazing and empowering information! So glad to learn about your reviews before spending my money!

14 08 2010
CMrok93

It’s terrible when it comes to the script, but has got enough dazzling visuals, and crazy dance sequences to entertain all. Great review, check out mine once you get a chance!

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