Step Up 3D
Details: In Cinemas 5 August 2010, United States, English
Synopsis: A tight-knit group of New York City street dancers, including Luke (Rick Malambri) and Natalie (Sharni Vinson), team up with NYU freshman Moose (Adam G. Sevani), and find themselves pitted against the world's best hip hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown that will change their lives forever.
Extra dimension doesn’t add depth to thin plot.
What happens if you take a B-grade formulaic dance movie script and shoot it in 3D? In the case of Step Up 3D, you get a B-grade formulaic dance movie enlivened by some eye-popping sequences filled with flying feet, spinning bodies and protruding limbs.
Alas, the extra dimension doesn’t compensate for a clichéd, predictable plot, one dimensional characters, mediocre performances and dopey dialogue. Still, I’m guessing the target audience, young males and females, for the third edition of the Step Up franchise won’t be bothered by such minor deficiencies and will sit back and enjoy the frenetic dancing, schmaltzy romancing and thunderous hip-hop music.
While the 3D spectrum is very effective in some sequences -especially a routine where the dancers splash around in water so vividly you may want to reach for an umbrella- some characters appear distractingly jerky as they come into camera range. And some of the effects, such as Slushee, bubbles and balloons shooting into the air, look fake.
The film starts with a dance-off between Moose (Adam Sevani), the geeky guy from Step Up 2 The Streets, now doing his freshman year at New York University, and Kid Darkness (someone named B-Boy Cloud, whose claim to fame evidently was as a back-up dancer to Madonna).
Moose is recruited by Luke (Rick Malambri), an aspiring filmmaker who lives with his dance crew, The Pirates, in a vast loft above a night club in a building he inherited from his parents.
Luke & Co are preparing for the World Jam and he badly needs the $100,000 prize money because, wouldn’t you know, he’s behind on his mortgage payments and the heartless bank is threatening to foreclose. When cute, acrobatic Natalie (Australian Sharni Vinson in her first movie role) joins his crew, Luke figures he’ll win against his arch enemy and former team member Julien (Joe Slaughter).
Moose spends so much time rehearsing it affects his uni studies and puts a strain on his relationship with his best (platonic) friend Camille (Alyson Stoner).
Romance between Luke and Natalie blooms then withers as he discovers her not-so-dark secret. The Pirates win the first two heats and the showdown looms with the black-clad House of Samurai. The outcome to all this could be written by any amateur scriptwriter.
The essence of what drives these oh-so-committed street dancers is spelt out at tedious length in vox pops recorded by Luke, with proclamations such as, “I dance to become someone else” and “Dance saved me.” Really.
As for the performances, Sevani displays a kind of Michael Cera-ish goofy charm, and his extended dance routine with Camille, to the tune of Jerome Kern’s 1930s song I Won’t Dance, is a treat. Vinson, who was a regular on Home and Away, doesn’t seem to have progressed much beyond the standards of the TV soap. It looks like she can really dance, although that may be tricked up by CGI. Malambri has an impressive torso and a nice smile but his Luke is bland personality with a limited range of expressions.
Director Jon Chu, who also helmed the predecessor, orchestrates the dancing sequences with a sharp eye for the visual effects but shows a deaf ear for dialogue and little feeling for what his actors should be doing when they’re standing still.
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