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  Publicity Stills of "Step Up 2: The Streets"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Will Kemp, Cassie Ventura, Adam G. Sevani, Telisha Shaw
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.myspace.com/stepupmovie

Opening Day: 13 March 2008


"Step Up 2 the Streets" is the follow-up to the smash hit "Step Up," which ignited theaters in August 2006. When rebellious street dancer Andie (Briana Evigan) lands at the elite Maryland School of the Arts, she finds herself fighting to fit in while also trying to hold onto her old life. When she joins forces with the school's hottest dancer Chase (Robert Hoffman) to form a crew of classmate outcasts to compete in Baltimore's underground dance battle The Streets, she ultimately finds a way to live her dream while building a bridge between her two separate worlds.

Movie Review:

I know - if I had been really conscious about keeping fit, I would have gotten a great bod by now. All I needed to do was to pick up street dancing, and I wouldn’t be stuffing popcorn into my face while gawking at the dancers’ precise dance moves and perfectly toned bods during the preview of this movie. And no, the reason why this movie seems mediocre to me isn’t because of my hateful personality. It is because of its bland execution that makes it seem like an overlong music video showcasing cool dance moves.

After the first movie made a box office splash in 2006, the studios couldn’t resist making a sequel to milk more money out of today’s MTV generation who loves everything loud and flashy. The first movie’s director and main stars do not return in this sequel, neither is the plot a continual story to the first movie. The 98-minute movie sees a girl entering a prestigious dance school and realizing that there is tension between her dreams of being a street dancer and the traditional classical dances which the school is teaching. Throw in a few outcaste friends, a few good looking studs and a few magnificently-choreographed dance battles, and you’d have the younger viewers asking for more after the end credits begin rolling.

While I’m in no position to tell you about the street culture, the movie feels like an excuse to bring together some of the best looking dancers on screen to showcase their chops. And they do it really well too, judging from the cheers and applauses of approval from the invited guests (who are experts in this dance genre) during the preview screening. While I know the focus of this movie shouldn’t be about the plot, the movie still feels like an excuse for director Jon Chu to show audiences how predictably second-rate the script is.

Some of the characters did make me laugh though, for example, the geek who breaks into the coolest dance moves on a staircase, and the Asian girl who gets laughed at for her command of the English language. But this racial and character representation is so conventionally banal; you’d expect it to be a high school TV drama. With a bigger budget, the filmmakers can also throw in more sequences of breathtaking dance competitions, more impressive craning camera shots, and a grand finale involving lights, rain and lots of extras.

Unknown stars Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman and Will Kemp headline this movie with their likeable but bland personalities, but I’d suppose viewers would not actually care, because they are there to gape at their cool dance moves after all. Blame me and my self-righteousness if you have to, but this movie isn’t really my cup of tea. I enjoy other forms of guilty pleasures, but at the expense of realizing how pathetically unfit and untalented I am, I’d prefer to diss this too-cool-to-be-true dance movie in the meantime. You may want to check back again after I pick up street dancing – once I finish the bag of chips on my laps.

Movie Rating:

(An excuse for the good looking cast to be cool and showcase their street dancing)

Review by John Li


. Stomp The Yard (2007)

. Step Up (2006)

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