Step Up 3D

Director    Jon Chu
Starring    Rick Malambri, Adam G Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner, Joe Slaughter
Release    6 AUG (US) 6 AUG (UK)    Certificate PG
3 stars


1st August 2010

James Cameron and his expensive, elaborate cameras have a lot to answer for. He may have revolutionised the way we watch movies and made a buttload of cash doing it, but his triumph has made 3D more accessible to the movie-making masses, spurring on all kinds of three-dimensional clap trap.

It was only going to be a matter of time before someone
realised that spinning on your head and doing a flip over your mate whilst wearing your cap back to front would probably look quite good with that extra dimension. And Step Up 3D proves this theory right.

NYU freshman and Step Up 2 graduate Moose (Adam G Sevani) teams up with a tight-knit group of New York City Street dancers known as The Pirates, after his bust-a-moves catch the eye of crew captain, Luke (Rick Malambri). After threats by the bank to take their home/club/dance studio/squat after they fall behind on their mortgage, The Pirates find themselves pitted against some of the best crews around in a bid to win a $100,000 battle, keep their home, continue to follow their dreams and no doubt learn some valuable life lessons along the way.

[gallery]This is all straightforward stuff - impressive dancing, questionable acting, and a formulaic, undemanding plot told through the simplest of narratives. But like its two predecessors, everything else takes a back seat to the boogie - the back-up dancers to the film's Justin Timberlake, if you will. It's a good job then that these scenes - and remember this is in 3D folks - are really quite spectacular.

The New York skyline has rarely looked this breath-taking before on the big screen, from swooping shots over Manhattan to cruising through Times Square. The dancers really come into their own when they're quite literally body-popping on your face [Ed's not - presumably not literally]. It's like you're getting served for real, and being taunted for not having 'game'.

Whilst we're getting over all the frantic bopping, bouncing and jumping about in time to some heavy beats, there is something resembling a plot going on. But similar to the previous movies, everything happens too fast and too perfectly, giving the audience little time to relate to the problems, or to fully register the seriousness of them. One minute everything is in disarray, the next, everything is fine and rosy. The potentially deep sub-plots of juggling two lives could've been exploited further, adding some depth to the film, but instead, they get danced all over.

For fans of the series, this is just fine - fewer plots strands mean more dancing, and that's been the general rule of thumb for the franchise. Adam G Sevani on the other hand was the strongest link in Step Up 2, adding some much needed humour and charisma to the dance floor. It's no surprise then to see him bumped up from supporting character to full-blown lead. And blow me, can that boy move!

Step Up 3D delivers exactly what's promised. Yes, it's achingly predictable and the dialogue can be pretty scrappy at times, but that's to be expected from a cast made up of professional dancers. The scenes you've paid your money to see, and what the cast are primarily there for - the three dimensional, water-splashing, neon-lighting, superbly choreographed dance routines - fail to disappoint.

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