Reviewed by: Christopher Walker
|Featuring||Robert Hoffman, Briana Evigan, Will Kemp, Jennifer Rouse, Telisha Shaw, Cassie, Tony Devon, Jesus Maldonado, Mari Koda, Adam G. Sevani, See all »|
|Producer||Erik Feig, Anne Fletcher, Jennifer Gibgot, Bob Hayward, Meredith Milton, David Nicksay, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger|
|Distributor||Touchstone Pictures / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“It’s not where you’re from. It’s where you’re at.”
TThe original “Step Up” was advertised as the dance for their generation. It premiered opened during the last summer season and quickly became the sleeper hit of the season (much like “Dirty Dancing” did 21 years ago). Now 16 months after, we got the sequel nobody wanted, but surprisingly, it’s a little better than the first. If you’re expecting a plot in “Step Up 2 the Streets”, there is none. The movie’s real strength is the dancing. Who cares about a plot for this kind of movie? It’s cliched, but sometimes they’re worth it.
The movie opens with a narration by the film’s protagonist Andie West (Briana Evigan), who explains that when she was younger there was a different kind of hip-hop/freestyle jam called The Streets that Andie idolized as a child. After an eye-popping opening sequence on a subway train, we are introduced to the story: Andie is a rebel dancer whose mother died when she was younger due to cancer. Her family has always been her dance crew the 410, but after she gets in trouble with her foster mother Sarah who plans on having her moved to Texas. She gets one more chance if she attends school at the Maryland School for the Arts.
Her dance teacher, Buck Collins (Will Kemp) doesn’t like her because her dance moves are “too street” for the academy, but his brother and classmate Chase (Robert Hoffman) believes there’s potential in her. Her crew discovers eventually that she has joined the prestige academy and boots her, which leads Andie to take a huge risk: she decides to form her own crew consisting of Chase, and some of the degenerates at MSA including Moose (Adam Sevani). It gets ready for an all;-out showdown between Andie’s crew and 410.
The only connection besides the family connection is that the series is known for having the debut roles of pop stars: the first movie had pop star Mario while this installment features R and B singer Cassie Ventura. She plays Sophie, the “perfect” student at MS. Even though she doesn’t share any lines with Andie, her facial expressions are her form of communication to let Andie know she’s not welcome.
Cassie makes Sophie almost believable, as does Briana Evigan. If the last name Evigan sounds familiar, it’s because her father is TV actor Greg Evigan (of television shows “My Two Dads” and the short-lived sci-fi series, “TekWar”) and the younger sister of Vanessa (of TV’s short-lived “Social Studies”). Briana appears to be a talented young actress even though this is only her first headliner, and she’s got some serious dance movies. Even Channing Tatum makes a surprise extended cameo appearance, reprising his role as Tyler Gage, which implies the fact that Andie may be Tyler’s sister.
Surprisingly, there isn’t a whole lot of swearing and the violence is left to a minimum. There are some dance moves that might prove too sexually implicit for those younger, but the film was made for a teen audience in mind.
Even with it’s clichéd plot points, I found that “Step Up 2 the Streets”, surprising to admit, is a “Step Up” above the original. It’s main strength comes with the dancing styles and techniques, but this one with a more down-to-earth approach by its cast.
Grade: C (equivalent to ** out of ****)
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