Today: April 18, 2024

Step Up 3D

Toe-tapping soundtrack and stunning choreography just about keep this dance movie afloat.

Dance films have rapidly become mainstream film’s go-to genre for
packing in the over-excitable teens. The reasons for this are obvious. One,
they have little to no plot which perfectly satisfies the short
attention span, two, they have enough semi-clad attractive people to
fuel the hormonally charged and three there are lots of bright colours
to draw the eye.
With this in mind, and if this film was reviewed by
said teenagers, Step Up 3 would probably be one of the greatest films
ever made. However, we’re not all teenagers (unfortunately) and, for all
the reasons that the young will love it, as a result there is little on
offer here that you have not seen countless times before.

Moose (Sevani), having been a key role in Step Up 2, has put
all that silly dancing behind him in order to go to college. However,
within minutes of setting foot on campus he finds himself in a dance-off
and adopted into a gang of street dancers called The Pirates. Led by
Luke (Malambri) The Pirates are practicing to compete in a dance
competition that could net them enough money to save their home and
continue to live the dream of dance. Throw into the mix their rival gang
The Samurais and a mysterious love interest for Luke in the form of
Natalie (Vinson) and there is simply no telling whether or not The Pirates will win!

In many ways, with this being the third in the series of Step Up films, the producers have taken the approach of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
which is fair enough. If you’ve seen the first two films there is
little here that you won’t have seen before. Of course if you have seen
the first two films then you are more than likely to see this film
irrelevant of a review. If, on the other hand, you are coming to the
franchise fresh, you lucky things, then you will be bombarded by clichéd
plot, clunky dialogue and fairly wooden acting.

The script is rife with bizarre moments that bring our motley gang of characters together. Frankly,
Luke should be more wary of a girl who seems to be aroused by him
chasing her through a night club with a camera, alas it does little but
turn him onto her.
Furthermore, The Pirates live in a run down
warehouse and we’re reliably informed they have no money to pay the
mortgage on it. What then baffles is that Luke shows Moose into a room
which can only be described as a Nike shoe shop. It is elegantly
decorated in classic Nike trainers, if they’re nearly as valuable as
we’re led to believe, or as valuable as the obvious product placement
is, then surely selling them would be a good way of buying (sorry) some
time?

Thankfully Step Up 3 has one hugely redeeming feature and that is,
conveniently for a dance film, the moves that get busted for a majority
of the running time. Plot and characters take second billing to some hugely innovative choreography and endlessly contagious tunes.
Although most people will lack the ability to watch the film in 3D the
impact dance is not affected. Everything from bubbles, water, hands and
colourful spit takes dimensional jumping stage in well-orchestrated
routines. Indeed the climatic dance-off allows director Jon Chu to bring
in some Tron like light suits that heighten the already impressive
moves to epilepsy inducing levels.

Of course while the dance is great, mainly thanks to the dancers, the acting suffers. Malambri is horribly monosyllabic begging the question if his ‘robot’ dance is in fact exactly that.
Sevani aspires to geek-hood levels like Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim) or
Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) but can move in ways that gravity should
strictly prohibit and is never anything more than cute. Vinson, who some
will recognise from TVs Home And Away, posses a thousand kilowatt smile
that masks all manner of acting shortcomings. That she also nails the
American accent makes her something of a stand out.

If dance films are you cup of tea then Step Up 3 is surely going to rock your world.
If on the other hand you look for a semblance of story, character
development and sharp dialogue then you will need to stay clear. Clunky
and formulaic to the point of being outrageously predictable and yet if
you leave without tapping your feet to the music then you may be dead
inside. Not so much Step Up as tumble forward.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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