I finally got around to seeing "Step Up 2 The Streets," (2008) the "sequel" to "Step Up" (2006) which bears almost no connection whatsoever to the original movie. I can't remember why I didn't see it in the theaters. I think the title was just so stupid I couldn't stand it. Or I liked the first one and figured the second could not be as good.
Anyway it was $2 on Amazon Instant Streaming, so I had to finally check it. Yes, the plot is pretty terrible and the acting barely passable, which is why it got 26% on RottenTomatoes. But this is the movie where director Jon Chu demonstrates how to shoot dance scenes for the movies.
I'm not even going into the plot, because who really cares? We came for the dancing.
The first scene is a totally sick dance number on a moving subway train that's a strong open for the rest of the movie. It's got so much urban style and kinetic energy that it gave me hope that the rest would not suck.
Then there's this friendly girl vs boy battle in a club that has great interplay between the dancers, and a nice use of the main prop of a trampoline. This is followed by a "training montage" of the good guy crew to get you hyped for the coming battles, which is what everyone is interested in anyway….
….But first, a totally unnecessary salsa scene that is actually one of the most entertaining dance pieces in the entire film. I love the feeling of crashing a Latino family BBQ and everyone just getting down together. It has such warmth and sweetness, compared to the aggression and seriousness of the upcoming battles.
But now to the battlezone! Of course the "good crew" has to get burned by the "bad crew" in the first encounter. But really it's just an excuse for a sick group dance number in a club. For some reason the good crew let's themselves get goaded into battling the bad crew. Which makes no sense, since they just started rehearsing together like 7 minutes ago. Also, the leader of the crew isn't even in the routine, which shows her leadership style I guess.
It's in this scene that you find out that the "bad crew" are mostly a b-boy crew, or at least they are in this choreo. Lots of sick floorwork, freezes and powermoves. It's at that point that you realize that the "good crew" has only one actual b-boy, so how are they going to possibly win? That's at least what I was thinking.
Anyway, on to the final battle, which is in some industrial graffiti'ed up place of course that must have cost $1,200 to rent, plus catering. What's weird is that this isn't really a battle, it's just more of the bad crew performing and deciding that they won. Huh? And then it rains, and the good crew performs outside as the bad crew watches frowning. And then the crowd decides that the good crew won, despite the bad crew not having any chance to respond at all.
I know, it makes no sense. It doesn't matter. The final choreo in the rain is totally amazing and beautifully shot. I've watched it like four times and it still kind of amazes me. Wet, lit up dancers in the dark just looks awesome, even if the choreo was like 25% of the difficulty of what the previous crew just threw down.
So that's Step Up 2. All-in-all, I enjoyed it for what it was, a loose plot to connect different dance scenes. Lots of standout dancers in it, including the always entertaining Adam G. Sevani, the incredible Harry Shum Jr, and world class b-boy Luigi. In my opinion, the principals Brianna Evigan and Robert Hoffman are much better dancers than the principals in Step Up 3D, and had better chemistry.
POSTSCRIPT: My friend Jeskat will be sad if I don't include a reference to the "You Got Served" episode of South Park, which of course is hilarious. "You Got F'd in the A!" "That don't look like no dancing duck!" LOL.