Magic Mike’s Last Dance is a movie that works well enough on its own that you don’t have to worry about catching up if you haven’t seen the previous films. We’re introduced to a guy named Mike (Channing Tatum) who is working as a bartender for an event held by wealthy socialite Maxandra Mendoza (Selma Hayek) and is recognized by a woman that he’d worked a bachelorette party for almost ten years prior. His company went under due to the pandemic and now he’s working menial jobs to get by because he really doesn’t want to go back to being a dancer – or does he!
Okay, so the script of Magic Mike’s Last Dance leaves something to be desired. The dialogue often sounds like it’s being improvised on the spot (and maybe some of it is) and the characters don’t have much depth, but those aren’t the reasons people go and see Magic Mike movies, are they? No, one goes to a Magic Mike film to watch Tatum and company work their shirtless magic on stage, and that’s completely fine. So, knowing that, I will say that even though the love story here between Mike and Maxandra isn’t as captivating as a relationship in your average romantic film, it works well enough here because the focus of the film is the dancing, and the dancing is strong enough to carry everything else on its shoulders, all while doing a backflip off a staircase into the splits.
It’s been 8 years since Magic Mike: XXL and it doesn’t seem like a third film was ever the plan. Tatum said it wasn’t until they did the Magic Mike Live show that he and Director Steven Soderbergh had the idea to do a third movie to not only finish off Mike’s story, but also showcase the dancers from the live show. As Mike doesn’t want to dance anymore he’s once again distanced himself from his friends from the previous films – mainly because they invested in his business and it went under and he feels that he has to find a way to pay them back before he will answer their calls. So when he’s hired by Maxandra to go with her to London and put on a show he lets them know that he’ll pay them back via a Zoom call. They say the money isn’t important and they just don’t want him to blow this chance at happiness and that’s all we see of the previous cast of dancers.
Maxandra’s plan is to put on a “One Night Only” show in a theater that she got in a potential divorce settlement with her cheating estranged husband. She wants to both empower women through this showcase of chiselled bodies, and also stick it to him at the same time. So she brings Mike over to direct the stage production, even though he has no idea what he’s doing. What really works with this premise is that they focus so much on creating this stage production that they don’t give the viewer too much time to think about any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the plot.
Mike says he doesn’t want to dance anymore until Maxandra offers her six-thousand dollars to dance for her back at her fundraiser and then the pants come off! I mean, I don’t blame him, but he hasn’t missed a beat and it’s almost illogical that he wouldn’t at least teach dance to make a living. It’s not like the second film ended on a downtrodden note that would’ve once again had him hoping for a life away from the spotlight. So when she says she wants him to come to London with her for a month and she’ll pay him $60 thousand dollars to do so and he’s like, “Eh, I dunno, my whole life is here and I can’t just leave,” you’re wondering why he’s hesitating at all. It’s a month Mike, you’ll be able to get another bartending job you hate for a catering company when you get back – with SIXTY-THOUSAND extra dollars in your pocket. Shut up and go!
Even though I can poke at the story I did enjoy Magic Mike’s Last Dance as a whole, and if they’d tweaked things a bit more with the relationship between Mike and Maxandra it could’ve been a stronger movie overall. They’re just missing those one or two scenes that truly showcase the romance between them is real and not potential infatuation and lust, but it works well enough that it’s at least believable that these two would see where things could potentially go with one another. Maxandra’s life and perspective were changed forever in her eyes thanks to that first night with Mike, and Mike is just someone looking for direction and he seems to have found it putting together this stage production with Maxandra, someone who actually believes in him.
That said, if we’re just talking about the dancing here then they’ve knocked it out of the park. The fresh blood of dancers here may not have any individual character or depth – or even lines come to think about it – but they all do their talking on the stage. There are some fun dances that get sexier from one to the next and give fans the tried-and-true Magic Mike treatment, but the one that stands out above the rest that actually has to do with the love story of the film itself, and that’s the final dance between Mike and professional ballerina Kylie Shea. Shea’s character on stage represents Maxandra, as Mike looks to express his love to her through dance, and what a sensual, beautiful, and impressive dance it is; all while water pours down on the stage and the two dancers, as this number takes place in the rain. These two leave it all on the floor – majority of clothes included – and it’s a tantalizing spectacle to behold.
While it’s not a movie that’s overly memorable in terms of character or story, Magic Mike’s Last Dance is entertaining while it’s happening, and I’d argue that the final dance number alone is worth the price of admission and will likely be the scene that stands the test of time here. As mentioned at the start, if you’ve never watched a Magic Mike film before but are intrigued, know that you can go into Magic Mike’s Last Dance blind and not be lost at all. As for fans who have been around since the beginning, I’d say that they’ll be thoroughly pleased by the climax of this series.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Blu-ray Video and Audio Review
The video transition here is solid all around, with Cinematographer Peter Andrew’s work being showcased best when the show is happening on stage. The rest of the film looks good but isn’t overly flashy and has a vibe that’s more reality based over fantasy. While not vibrant it’s still not a depressing looking movie, just a more neutral feel that works for the story being told. Allowing everything to pop during the final act on stage makes the most sense and works really well.
On the audio side of things we’ve got a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix that once again truly shines during the dance numbers. The music rumbles through the speakers nicely, booming at the proper times and firing off from all angles when in the thick of it. It’s a fantastic mix that helps elevate everything it touches – which is everything. It’s a reoccurring theme throughout this review, but all pieces of this movie truly come together best during the finale, which is exactly how it should be for a movie like this.
Magic Mike’s New Moves – This is the only actual featurette on the disc and it’s a brief glimpse behind the camera touching on things that deserved their own features. Alas, sometimes it’s just not meant to be and that’s the case here. While I would’ve loved a larger breakdown of the final dance routine we’re instead given a minute or two talking about it here with choreographers Luke Broadlick and Alison Faulk. Tatum also talks about why they decided to come back and make a third film, and how they wanted to showcase the dancers from the live show this time out.
Extended Scene – There’s one extended scene here that’s 8-minutes in length. It’s clear why this was cut as it was a scene that didn’t need to be longer, and the things that were cut would’ve just made the scenario more ridiculous than the fun, silly little bit that it was.
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Directed by: Steven Soderbergh. Written by: Reid Carolin. Starring: Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek, Ayub Khan-Din, Kylie Shea. Running time: 112 Minutes. Rating: PG. Released on Blu-ray: April 18, 2023.