STEP UP ALL IN
Miami street dancer Sean Asa (Ryan Guzman) moves to Hollywood with visions of fame and fortune, only to discover the almost insurmountable odds of making it in the professional dance world. But when the new dance crew he forms with the beautiful and headstrong Andie West (Briana Evigan) reaches the final rounds of a high-stakes reality TV competition in glittering Las Vegas, he has a shot at finally making his dreams come true-if he can set aside old loyalties and long-time rivalries and just do what he loves most: dance.
Review by Louise Keller:
Sensational high energy dancing with inventive choreography and sassy rhythms make this fifth film in the franchise fly, even though the plot is wafer thin and the girl boy dynamic wanting. Oh if only Channing Tatum, who leapt to stardom in the 2006 film had returned to be part of the Ďall iní casting, rather than relying on the presence of Ryan Guzman, who has all the physical attributes Ė except charisma. The same goes for Briana Evigan (from Step Up 2: The Streets), who is paired with Guzman, but there is no spark.
The film begins with an LA audition followed by rejection. Dancing might make you feel alive, the voice over tells us, but there is rent to pay and the life of a dancer is far from easy. What happens after a rejection? Blow off steam, of course at a happening club, my Man, where the communication takes place on the dance floor with hip and funky moves. Legs bend every which way, bodies flex incredibly and hair flies in every direction as the dancers climb up walls and flip on lounges in a show of toe-tapping joie de vivre. Thereís a shift, as Sean finds himself a new dance team (his old team, The Mob heads back to Miami), when he sets his sights on winning a reality show called The Vortex. A three year contract in Las Vegas is the drawcard. The Vortex host Alexxa Brava (Polish dancer Izabella Miko, wearing different colour wigs and extravagant costumes is a cross between Michelle Pfeiffer in Hairspray and Elizabeth Banks in The Hunger Games), a hideous illusion of beauty and manipulation.
The action then moves to Vegas, where the team find themselves in the same Caesarís Palace suite as Michael Douglas and team graced in Last Vegas. Different choreography is played out in different settings. When the dance team (now called LMNTRIX) is not rehearsing or performing, director Trish Sie concentrates on external shots of Vegas: the billboards, the casinos and the lights.
Of course thereís a competitive element and itís LMNTRIX against the Grim Knights, whose creepy leader Jasper (Stephen Jones) has some dirty dealings planned. Thereís also angst between Sean and his former team The Mob, who arrive in Vegas to compete too, and a spat between Adam Sevaniís goofy Moose and his g/f played by Alyson Stoner. It all plays out predictably which wouldnít matter so much if the leads were a bit more interesting. We know that Sean and Andie are going to end up having The Kiss, but like the routines, it is just part of the choreography.
The climactic sequence at the end, when everything relies on the dizzying choreography of the final elimination round at Caesarís Palace, amid flames, sand and confetti, is the best part of the film: the dance routines cook, the music pounds and skimpy costumes play their part. If itís dancing you want, thereís plenty of it here. Letís hope the filmmakers find some exciting charismatic talent for the next in the series.
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STEP UP ALL IN (PG)
CAST: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani,
PRODUCER: Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman
DIRECTOR: Trish Sie
SCRIPT: John Swetnam
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brian Pearson
EDITOR: Niven Howie
MUSIC: Jeff Cardoni
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Devorah Herbert
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 11, 2014