Starring: Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani, Sharni Vinson
Directed by: Jon Chu (“Step Up 2: The Streets”)
Written by: Amy Andelson (debut) and Emily Meyer (debut)
It may be the best movie of the street-dance franchise, but “Step Up 3D” has to face the same facts its two predecessors did: great chorography and dance sequences might be enough for dance enthusiasts to gravitate toward, but without a sensible script and at least a smidgen of acting ability from the cast, what’s really the point?
It sure isn’t the 3-D technology that merits another return to the series, which started back in 2006 with Channing Tatum in the lead role. The 3-D only works when the dancers are incorporating hand movements into their performance and when the camera is at eye level, but much of the ploy is merely added to keep up with the money-making trend most summer movies are forced to invest.
After the original movie hit theaters four years ago and turned Tatum into a hot commodity in Hollywood (the guy has four major movies opening next year), the story hit a plateau with “Step Up 2: The Streets” despite having more characters and imaginative moves. Still, it maintained its priority for energetic dancing techniques, which has really been the franchise’s only strong suit. In this round, “3D” follows Moose (Adam G. Sevani) as he joins up with a new dance crew after he enrolls at New York University to study engineering.
Heading the group is Luke (Rick Malambri), a dancer and aspiring filmmaker, who recruits kids from all over the city who have the talent it’ll take to help him defeat the their rivals in the New York City dance world. The antagonists are known as the House of Samurai, who are always the favorite to win the big dance competition of the year.
This year, however, it’s about survival for Luke and his crew. They need to win the $100,000 prize money so the bank doesn’t foreclose on their dance studio and sell it to the highest bidder at auction. With Moose and new exciting dancer and love interest Natalie (Sharni Vinson) in Luke’s lineup, the group must work towards the big hip-hop showdown against their nemesis if they want to keep the crew together.
If all you’re interested in is the frenetic footwork of the dancers, then by all means see “Step Up 3D.” The talent these dancers have is fantastic and worthy of an audience. The same can be said, however, about the number of reality dance shows on TV right now that highlight different dancing styles.
Reality dance shows are an easier pill to swallow, however, because they don’t include the ridiculous storylines movies like “Step Up 3D” flash around so it can call itself a movie. Watching these kids flip and kick and defy gravity with their dancing abilities is impressive. Everything else is a collection of inept sub-cultural afterthoughts.