Posted October 15, 2011 by Dale Barnett in DVD/Blu-ray
 
 

Honey 2


Acting as a sequel to the 2004 film that put Jessica Alba firmly in the public eye, Honey 2 seeks to go boldly where Honey has gone before.

Acting
as a sequel to the 2004 film that put Jessica Alba firmly in the public eye,
Honey 2 seeks to go boldly where
Honey has gone before.

The first installment saw beautiful and
talented music choreographer Honey Daniels, encourage kids from downtown Harlem
to get off the streets and into her hip-hop dance class. The film revolved
around her philanthropic efforts to keep the kids out of trouble whilst trying
to break into the turbulent music industry. Though her dance moves left much to
be desired, the film was entertaining enough to hold attention.

The sequel, however, finds Alba nowhere in
sight, having been replaced by relative newcomer Katerina Graham (The Vampire Diaries) who, though a much improved
and impressive dancer, falls victim to a wafer thin plotline and insubstantial
script that is far too reminiscent of recent additions to the genre.

Maria Ramirez (Graham) has just been
released from Juvenile detention after a run in with the state police, and
moves in with Connie Daniels; mother of renowned choreographer Honey. As part
of her probation she is forced to work as a janitor at the Honey Daniels Street
Dance School. Maria is equipped with feisty dance moves and a bad attitude.
Trying to distance herself from her old ways and get out from under a bad
crowd, Maria immerses herself in her one true passion; dance. She soon meets a
promising group of dancers at the school who ask her to join their crew. Desperate
to prove her worth and to get revenge on her bad boy ex-boyfriend Luis, who was
responsible for her incarceration and who happens to be the lead dancer in a
rival crew; The 718, Maria decides to join the Honey Daniels dance group. After being humiliated at an impromptu
dance battle, the group realize they have their work cut out for them. As
self-appointed choreographer, Maria convinces them to train to compete against
The 718 in televised dance show ‘Dance or Die’; the prize at stake being ten
thousand dollars, a dance tour supporting a top artist, a choreography
scholarship and of course, her reputation.

The original film came out of a time when
these stories though a little soppy, hadn’t yet become entirely clichéd and
uninventive- Save The Last Dance, You Got Served and even the first Step Up proved that there was room in
the film market for the street dance genre. However with the arrival of Step up
2 (almost an exact replica of the first except with a weaker plotline, less
empathetic characters ) – from which ensued the birth of the ‘white girl from
the ghetto’ protagonist who ‘talks smack’ and dresses like she is from the mean
streets of Harlem that we will unfortunately become accustom to- patience for
repetitive and regurgitated storylines began to wear thin. Then came in 2010
the absolute catastrophe that was Streetdance
3D
; proving that Brits can in fact make things even worse… weren’t sideways
baseball caps out around the demise of MC Hammer? So within this already volatile context, Honey 2 would have to pull something new out
of the bag.

The opening scene is
bizarre featuring a heavily choreographed dance routine in a prison. It is
entirely farcical to believe that in a state prison- juvenile or otherwise-
female convicts start fights by ‘dance battling’ each other. Musical prison aside,
we are introduced to the beginnings of a film typical of its genre.

Watching Honey 2 you will most certainly
experience an intense form of déjà vu with a simplistic thread revolving around
a youth from a bad background and a turbulent upbringing trying to make amends
or prove their self- worth by doing the only thing they really live for;
dancing. Along the way they will meet a whole host of stock characters who
serve to provide the protagonist with a renewed sense of appreciation and
belonging.

We have the evil ex boyfriend and leader of
the rival ‘crew’ who acts as antagonist to this goal and seeks to sabotage and
humiliate our hero somehow.

Then, and quite pivotally, we have the
flakey, reluctant and nervous crew member who buckles under pressure and
switches sides at the last minute, joining the opposing crew only to come
crawling back when they are undoubtedly and unsurprisingly beaten by the
underdogs.

Finally, we have the love interest. Usually
a male dancer who acts as support and anchor for the female lead (and often the
subject of a rather steamy dance routine) who will play the role of
motivational speaker and eye candy throughout the film before facilitating the
all-so-familiar celebratory kiss in the final scene when they win the
competition and everything is wonderful.

Unfortunately, the similarities don’t stop
there. Plot points are taken from
the dance flick handbook. Rule number one being that there must be a dip before
the resolution. A low point when
everything seems to be going awry- the crew is falling apart, they have no
money to compete, a prior engagement (in this case a school exam) clashes with
the big showdown or even simply a lovers tiff. This temporary denouement is
integral as it allows the crew in the next scenes to return and re-group just
in time to wow everyone with their big (often glow in the dark) showstopper.

Scenes are also irritatingly unoriginal. It
seems a prerequisite in urban dance film-making practice that there is a scene
in which the protagonist expresses their frustration by performing a killer,
slightly aggressive dance routine by themselves in an abandoned location, in
this case, a dance studio. Proving that if Kevin
Bacon
can do it in a warehouse, Zac
Efon
in a school gym and Marques
Houston
on a rain soaked street corner, then the witchy chick from The
Vampire Diaries can damn sure do it too.

Katerina Graham although impressive on the
dance front, spent the first half of the film putting on a rather annoying ‘oh
no he di-ent’ voice and failing to come across as any kind of hardened ex-con
with street cred. This was thankfully phased out in the second half when she
began to string coherent sentences together- albeit with the recurrent use of
the word ‘word’ to signify affirmation.

If you know what to expect from these films
then you won’t be disappointed in that it certainly follows form- falling
somewhere between twee and trite and landing in the region of predictable and
unoriginal. However, if all you want to get from the film is a heavy,
foot-tapping soundtrack, some impressive dance numbers and inventive
choreography then you’ll get your money’s worth.

To Buy Honey 2 on DVD Click Here or on Blu-Ray click Here


Dale Barnett