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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Step Up 2 - The Streets

MOVIE REVIEWS

STEP UP 2 - THE STREETS (2008)

Starring Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G. Sevani, Cassie Ventura, Danielle Polanco, Christopher Scott, Mari Koda, Janelle Cambridge, Luis Rosado, Harry Shum Jr., Lajon Dantzler, Telisha Shaw, Sonja Sohn and Channing Tatum.

Screenplay by Toni Ann Johnson and Karen Barna.

Directed by Jon M. Chu.

Distributed by Touchstone Pictures.  98 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

 

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Step Up 2 - The Streets

The whole idea of a sequel has changed a lot in recent years.  They used to be a continuation of the story of specific characters.  Now the people are not so vital, the situation and the place are the thing.  Step Up 2 has almost nothing to do with the first film in the series, other than the fact that both movies have lithe teens shaking their bodies to a hip-hop beat at the Maryland School for the Arts in Baltimore.  I mean, come on, are you telling me that Jenna Dewan, Channing Tatum and Mario were too busy to reprise their roles from the first Step Up movie?  I doubt it.  (Though, in fairness, Tatum does do a cameo here, reprising his role from the first film.) 

However, this film is a variation of the last film.  In fact, it is an exact flip-flop. 

The last movie had a streetwise (but white) male hip-hop dancer who goes to the school for the arts, only to meet a rich, beautiful girl who is used to traditional dance.  They become dance partners, learn how to better their moves from each other – all the while resisting the fact that they are falling in love.  They finally give in to the passion after the big dance off and kiss. 

The new movie has changed that whole thing up. 

This one has a streetwise (but white) female hip-hop dancer who goes to the school for the arts, only to meet a rich, beautiful boy who is used to traditional dance.  They become dance partners, learn how to better their moves from each other – all the while resisting the fact that they are falling in love.  They finally give in to the passion after the big dance off and kiss. 

Hmm…  Now that’s an original idea.  Step Up 2 is not so much a sequel of Step Up as it is a remake of it. 

However, there is a little originality here.  That comes from a dance competition called the Streets.  Apparently Baltimore is being terrorized by gangs of dancers who show up on subway cars and out of the blue start doing highly choreographed dance routines, which they videotape and put up on YouTube.  I never quite got why Baltimore is supposed to be so up in arms about this – they’re dancing, for Christ’s sake!  However, it becomes a top story on the evening news and entire battalions of subway cops chase the kids, but can’t catch them – which doesn’t say much for the cops, since the fugitives were popping and locking during the entire getaway. 

Turns out these renegade dance troupes do annual dance-offs in huge factories to win street cred.  The top crew is the Four-One-Oh (Baltimore’s area code is 410 – get it?).  When our heroine goes to the art high school, she is dropped from the crew, so she makes her own posse from the outcasts at the school, determined to take her old compatriots on. 

So, the story makes no sense.  Who really expected it to?  The most important questions are – do you like the characters?  Do the dances make it worth your while? 

The answers are yes and yes. 

The stars are very attractive and sweet.  Sure, Briana Evigan may be the whitest, least streetwise-seeming hip-hop dancing bandida in movie history, but she is sweet and pretty and you want her to be happy.  Robert Hoffman takes the stereotypical rich pretty boy role and gives it surprising soulfulness. 

Also, the dancing here is better than in the first movie, where, frankly, Tatum had a herky-jerky style that often looked like he was having epileptic fits. 

If you’ve seen the first Step Up movie, or Flashdance, or Fame, or Center Stage, or Take the Lead, or Breakin’ 2 is Electric Boogaloo or any number of dance movies, you’ve already seen Step Up 2.  There is nothing unexpected in the movie, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sort of entertaining.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 25, 2008.

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Copyright ©2008   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: May 25, 2008.