Dancing, a simple act of motion that captivates so many people in the world. Hollywood has continuously created movies that encompass those gifted in this art, from classic musicals to today’s modern competitions. One such series is the Step Up series, a film that many years ago lit a fuse that would revolutionize the dancing community. While the first installment actually had a decent plot filled with emotion, the movies to follow became diluted tales where moves, comedy, and predictable love stories became the emphasis. With its fifth installment releasing this weekend, this reviewer is back at the theater to see what was in store. Does Step Up All In defy the trend, or has it just taken its place as another dance flick? Read on to find out.
One thing that this series has going for it, is that the main characters are pretty in some way, and this movie is no different. Picking up from the Revolution, All In has a hilarious opening where hopeful dancers are forced to parade around in ridiculous costumes, or shirtless for some. Enter Sean (Ryan Guzman) the justice filled rebel from the last series, who somehow has become quite pig headed since moving to L.A. Guzman wasn’t bad mind you, but his character’s inversed morals were annoying, and lacked the emotional drive to back it up. Leading lady Briana Evigan helped a little, her qualities a bit more realistic and noble, but even her emotional drive was flat. The result, another shallow love story that seems to develop out of thin air, and have the depth of a kiddy pool. Perhaps it was just for the eye candy, or perhaps it was just something to give the primary age group to latch on to. Whatever the case, it was sweet, but nothing I haven’t seen in a hundred other romantic comedies, luckily with less crying. Of course there are some other characters that help bail the movie out. My main man Moose (Adam G. Sevani) has returned to the fray to provide not only amazing moves, but comedy as well. As for the main “bad guy” of this tale Jasper (Stephen Stevo Jones), he is more of a tool than a serious threat, a mere wannabe with a crew whose moves were sick. Other fan favorites return as well, though like always they are more of background characters or a medium for the humorous dialog.
Putting acting and characters aside, let’s talk a little about the story. Surprise, surprise it’s plain, simple, and just as predictable as the previous installments. Some of the love is authentic and admirable; helping to address some issues in the process, but for the most part is rather bland. Putting romance aside, truth is that the overall plot is very lacking in both emotion and suspense. The situation is simply winning a contest, and while that can be very tense, is rather boring in this installment. A few twists were attempted to be put into the mix, blatant attempts to put drama into crew to get some ruse out of the crowd. However, the drama lacked tension and heat, issues blowing over in seconds with rather emotionless scenes. Even the backstories leading up to this were underdeveloped, and the fear they tried to instill was absent, again blowing over them with ease. Although I knew it was going to be a predictable mess, I was hoping there would be some better delivery of the inevitable conclusion.
The story isn’t what you come to see in these movies though. As I, and the movie production team know, you come for the dancing numbers. Step All In does just that, as the crew brings intense moves on to the screen. From the get go, the gang performs numbers that will have fans amazed with their bouts of strength, flipping and twisting as if it were no big feat. Dance numbers are a blend of flips, twists, and pop and lock that flow into each other effortlessly, a tribute to the fine choreography. Many of the numbers are elaborate, with the participants clothed in themed outfits that are part provocative and matching the songs at the same time. Speaking of the music, All In smashes the speakers with intense beat that are mostly gangster rap, electronic, and a little R&B. While not as diverse as the previous movie, in both music and numbers, I found myself dancing in the seat, as I got lost in the bass filled moments. The edgy music goes along with the nature of the numbers, almost all of them a battle between the groups filled with fake punches, cheesy taunts, and hooting for support. Simple I know, but the special effects they pulled out were fun to watch and most likely would have come at you in the 3-D version. Only once or twice did I find the dancing irrelevant or misplaced, being introduced only to give the audience another filler before the main event. For most though, the relevancy of the numbers won’t matter though, because it’s just more impressive dancing.
Step Up All In is a fun flick to watch, and fans of the series will be purely satisfied and entertained. Again it’s a movie made for those who like gorgeous casts acting out simple love and spending the rest of the time dancing. Such a simple formula continues to be successful, so there is a good chance it won’t change. Yet it would be nice if the delivery could be tweaked in some manner to get rid of some of the cheesiness. Overall though, I would recommend waiting to see this movie at home, unless you are looking for a movie to go to as a group. My scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 6.0