A couple friends and I just saw "Step Up 3D," the latest installment of the successful hip-hop dance movie series. Directed by John Chu, the film bears absolutely no relationship to "Step Up" (2007), which I somewhat begrudgingly enjoyed. Knowing that this was going to be a cheesy plot that was largely an excuse for big dance set pieces, my friends and I were ready to enjoy "Step Up 3D."
We were not disappointed. "Step Up 3D" features some of the world's finest hip-hop dancers doing what they do best on the big screen. We squealled when our favorite dancers came on the screen, including Joshua Allen, Twitch, b-boy Cloud, and robotic wunderkind Madd Chadd. Other standout dancers for me included the star Adam G. Sevani, finger tutter J Smooth, and the multi-talented Lombard Twins. Director John Chu knows how to stage and light them for dramatic effect, and for the most part just sets the camera for wide angle in front of them and let's them do their stuff.
The plot is mostly unobtrusive. The two pretty leads are passable dancers but wooden actors forced to deliver some cringe-worthy dialogue ("You lied to me." "No, that was really me. Let's run away."). I much preferred the secondary story of young dancer Moose and his budding romance with his best friend Camille. Their more natural chemistry is evidenced by the only light-hearted dance piece in the film, set to a remixed swing song "I Don't Dance", with plenty of Fred Astaire references tossed in.
Of course, this is a 3D film, so lots of things gets tossed, splashed and suspended in the air in front of your eyes. Most of it is silly and dumb (particularly the slurpee scene), but does add some "wow" factor to the dance pieces. Check out this sick robot dance sequence by the main crew The Pirates:
All of this comes together in the final hip-hop battle that pulls out all the stops to entertain. In the end, the 3D technology, sound effects, and surround sound stereo are just minor enhancements of the film's most impressive special effect: the human body in motion.
- "Are you up for a little competition?" "I never lose."
- "You are so BFAD." "I'm what?" "Born from a Boombox."
- (Chinese-American dancer) "I don't have an accent."