Step Up 2 the Streets – Review


Image courtesy of Yahoo Movies

Director:

John Chu

Cast:

Briana Evigan……….Andie
Robert Hoffman……….Chase Collins
Adam G. Sevani……….Moose
Cassie……….Sophie (as Cassie Ventura)
Danielle Polanco……….Missy
Christopher Scott……….Hair
Mari Koda……….Jenny Kido
Janelle Cambridge……….Fly
Luis Rosado……….Monster
Harry Shum Jr……….Cable
LaJon Dantzler……….Smiles
Telisha Shaw……….Felicia
Black Thomas……….Tuck
Kmel Howell……….K-Mel (as Kejamel ‘K-Mel’ Howell)
Jeff ‘Rapid’ Ogle……….Rapid
Donnie ‘Crumbs’ Counts……….Crumbs
Ebone Johnson……….EBZ
Rynan ‘Rainen’ Paguio……….Kid Rainen
James ‘Cricket’ Colter……….Cricket
Alison Faulk……….Alstar
Shorty Welch……….Shorty
Troy Kirby……….Troy
Jeffrey ‘Machine’ McCann……….Machine
Will Kemp……….Blake Collins
Sonja Sohn……….Sarah
Channing Tatum……….Tyler Gage
J-Boog……….DJ Sand (as Boogie)
Amarr Merritt……….Charlie

Coming in to a movie like Step Up 2 the Streets one does not expect a solid story, or even one that differs in any significant way from the formula Rocky made fashionable over 30 years ago. So with plot merely an afterthought, the only facet of the film director John Chu needs to get right is the dancing, and he does so with a high level of enthusiasm. That energy rubs off on the entire cast as well as the audience.

Before long it doesn’t even matter that Step Up 2 the Streets‘s plot is blatantly lifted from every other urban dance movie ever made. And really, how many misfit troublemakers have been saved by their ability to express themselves through dance? Whatever the number, the movie offers a compelling argument to make room for one more.

Andie (Briana Evigan) is the troubled youth in need of saving this time around. She is a member of the 410, a dance crew preparing for the Streets competition. After performing the Prank (a sort of rite of passage to show those interested that one’s crew is legit and ready for the contest) Andie is admonished by her caretaker, Sarah (Sonja Sohn), for being involved in such delinquent behavior. Andie is set to move to Texas to live with her aunt.

But before her bangs are packed, she is given an alternative by her friend (and only link to the original Step Up) Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum). Tyler, now a famous success story, challenges her to a dance off for her freedom. She loses, but Tyler talks Sarah into compromising by sending Andie to his alma mater, Maryland School of the Arts.

While attending her new school, Andie is unable to balance her loyalty to her crew and her new responsibilities to her classmates. She is eventually kicked out of the 410 and coaxed by hot crush, Chase (Robert Hoffman), into starting a new crew comprised of talented outcasts from her school. The rest of the film concentrates on the eventual showdown between Andie’s new crew and the 410.

Mercifully, the movie refrains from becoming too heavy-handed, and instead keeps its focus where it belongs: the eye-popping dance sequences. Movies are defined by having certain elements, and there is no argument here that Step Up 2 the Streets would suffer without a story, but the plot only serves to enhance the drama of the awesome dance numbers. On the other hand, Step Up 2 the Streets would be horrible if it culminated in say, a basketball game, instead of dancing. The results are would, of course, be the same, but the impact would be significantly less.

Thanks go, in large part, to the dance movie genre’s relative freshness. As such, the genre is still waiting for its classic film. While Step Up 2 the Streets is not that movie, it at least suggests that, given a better story, such a masterpiece might be somewhere on the horizon.

FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):