Sure those dancers can’t act, but wow can those actors dance.
“Step Up All In” is the 5th installment of the “let’s solve all the world’s problems with a dance battle” series otherwise known as Step Up. Once again our crew of B Boys and Girls take to the dance floor to prove their stuff just as they have since Channing Tatum started this series 8 years ago. So is there still a place for this series to throw some new dance moves at us every couple years in the theater. Well, as long as there is an audience I suppose the answer is yes.
And apparently I’m part of that audience. I know, I know, there’s a lot of bad acting cheese here to sift through, and I promise we will get to that here in a second, but I have to be honest, I kind of enjoy these movies for what they are. In many ways it reminds me of the transition I made with the Fast and Furious movies over the years, where the familiarity of the players and roles allowed me to forgive the shortcomings and instead focus on the over the top set pieces. In Furious thats all about the cars, but here its all about the choreography and bravado of these gifted dancers. Look, I know it’s not great film making but I can’t help but enjoy myself, I mean come on, it’s Moose! And Andie! And Sean! And The Santiago Twins! OK, so that may not mean much to you, but it’s like reciting the cast of X:Men Days of Future Past to a Step Up fan. Step Up All In is like the Star Trek Generations of dance movies. Still not helping? Well, It’s also fun to play spot the So You Think You Can Dance alumni, I mean, if you happen to be a fan of that show that is. Seriously though, even if you don’t have those connections the best thing about this series continues to be the fun and clever dance sections and battles throughout. There is so much energy and imagination in those sections that it’s hard not to smile even if you aren’t a huge fan of the series. Of course the stuff between those battles is still a bit hard to get through.
All the typical padding is here. A flimsy story that just exists to get to the next dance scene? Check. Gimicky 3D shots with things flung out through the screen? Check. Mediocre acting where it feels as if they might actually just be reading cue cards? Double Check. Not to mention we all know exactly how this will all play out in the end, so there’s little to no suspense as to what will happen. And yet somehow, I still end up sitting on the edge of my seat just hoping they will pull off that one trick that they never got right in all their practices but now when it’s all on the line… sorry, almost spoiled the ending there for you.
The Point being, when it comes right down to it “Step Up All In” has plot twists you see coming a mile away, but with dance moves you want to watch up close. Sure, as a lesson in making movies there isn’t a lot to learn here, but as fan of super cool hip hop moves and dropping killer dope beats I think it battles its way to a solid C+