CINEMA RELEASE: STEP UP: ALL IN
Release date: 11th September 2014
Director: Trish Sie
Cast: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam Sevani, Izabella Miko
Classification: PG (Mild Coarse Language)
Review by Peter Gray
Who would’ve thought that a movie like ‘Step Up’, with its formulaic plot and generally mediocre reception, would spawn such a weighty franchise? It’s a question one can ponder as they view ‘Step Up: All In’, the 5th in the continuing series, which once again serves up a series of spectacularly-choreographed dance sequences to offset the monotony of the so-called “plot”.
Pretty-boy model type Sean (Ryan Guzman), whose tribulations we followed in the 2012 predecessor ‘Step Up: Miami Heat’, just wants to dance. Along with his crew – The Mob – he ventures on countless auditions and continually comes up short, the rejection eventuating in his crew packing their bags and heading home to Miami leaving Sean to go it alone in L.A. Scrolling the net for opportunities, he comes across ‘The Vortex’, an MTV-style series that pits dance troupes against each other in a bid to win a three-year contract at a prestigious Las Vegas residency. In a typical movie montage moment Sean tracks down local dancers to join him on the venture which allows series favourite Moose (Adam Sevani) and Andie (Briana Evigan), the opinionated lead from ‘Step Up 2: The Streets’ (2008), to continue their passion for dance as the former wavers with his work responsibilities and the latter, her desire to simply fit in.
As to be expected a crew is formed – they call themselves LMNTRX (pronounced Elementrix) – and all the drama one would predict comes bubbling to the surface when The Mob reappear in the competition, much to Sean’s surprise, the shady goings-on of ‘The Vortex’ host Alexxa Brava (Izabella Miko, in an overtly theatrical performance as a Lady GaGa type popstar) and villain-of-the-week type dancer Jasper (Steven ‘Stev-O’ Jones) as they plan to rig the contest, and Sean’s bubbling romance with Andie, which constantly comes under threat due to his “must-win” attitude. All of these conflicts are solved just as one would imagine but really none of it really matters as its simple fodder to fill in the gaps between the musical set-pieces these films primarily exist for.
As he was in the previous ‘Step Up’, Guzman is acceptable in the lead role, it can’t be denied he looks the part with the obligatory shirtless-for-no-reason shot, but he lacks that spark that set Channing Tatum off on his path following the original film in 2006. Sevani and Evigan prove more effective in their established roles with his comedic timing never over-staying its welcome and her believably conveying the hardships that comes with the life of a dancer. The rest of the cast make for better dancers than actors.
Whilst it’s unlikely we’ll see a 6th ‘Step Up’, than again I thought the series was done following part 4, it would be nice if the creators of the franchise learned how to inject something new into proceedings instead of recycling the same old plot points we’ve seen before. At times ‘Step Up: All In’ appears it could be on the right track when Moose’s arc is in play – his home life with girlfriend Camille (Alyson Stoner) conflicting with his passion to dance – but it adds to little more than window dressing for a film that puts all its effort into the dancing which ultimately culminates in an admittedly spectacular Vegas finale complete with fire twirling and acrobatics set to an amalgamation of hip-hop and electronica.
‘Step Up: All In’ delivers exactly what audiences expect but sadly brings nothing more as it goes through the motions, doing its best to invest its viewers in the drama but coming up short more often than not. Nothing revolutionary or thought-provoking here, this 5th go-around should satisfy long-time fans of the franchise but is unlikely to do a great deal more.
My rating: 2/5