Touchstone Pictures // 2008 // 98 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // July 14th, 2008
Are you ready to step up?
Not really, no.
Step Up 2: The Streets tells the story of Andie (Briana Evigan), a rebellious street dancer who prefers to spend her time hanging with her posse and performing illegal dance stunts instead of going to school. When her guardian threatens to send her away if she doesn't get her act together soon, Andie reconsiders her current lifestyle and decides to attend the prestigious Maryland School of Arts. There she teams up with Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman), a talented modern dancer who plans to form his own crew and compete against the best of the best in Baltimore's underground dance scene.
After Anne Fletcher's 2006 dance flick Step Up delivered a surprising performance at the box office and took in $65 million, it was only a matter of time before the producers decided to quickly develop a sequel. Diehard fans of the first film must have been the only ones excited about a follow-up, because even though it earned about $58 million domestically, Step Up 2: The Streets is just as shallow as its predecessor. The biggest problem of the movie is its incredibly predictable and formulaic script, which is equivalent to a terribly bad daytime soap opera. It is obvious from the start that this flick was produced solely for profit, because besides a bunch of clichéd motivational speeches and plenty of common conflicts between the main characters, it has absolutely nothing new or engaging to offer. Just think of the plot as blatant version of Save the Last Dance.
Step Up 2: The Streets falls into the category of those films that spend over 90 minutes showing us something we've seen too many times already. Sure, some of the movie's major dance sequences are pretty impressive to watch (check out the rebuttal below), but everything in between is one big mess. Besides a sappy romance and badly scripted dialogue, Step Up 2: The Streets boasts plenty of underdeveloped characters who spend all their time engaging in predictable, immature rivalries to determine who really owns the streets. Guess what? Not that anyone really cares, but it's pretty obvious from the start who owns or will eventually own them. No, no surprises here.
Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, and Adam G. Sevani certainly have what it takes to deliver some awesome dance moves, but they simply can't act. Not only are Evigan and Hoffman terrible at delivering the already superficial dialogue, but they also fail to establish a good enough chemistry. Their cheesy romance just doesn't fly, and some of the intimate moments between the two are painful to watch. Channing Tatum drops by at the beginning of the film for a short cameo, and although I don't think he could have saved the whole thing from slipping into disaster, I still wish he had a bigger role.
I was excited to see what some of the film's vibrant dance scenes would look like in high-definition, but I have to admit I am a bit disappointed with the quality of the picture. The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer is definitely acceptable, but the image was too grainy too often for my taste. As far as video transfer goes, this is undoubtedly the weakest of the Blu-ray releases I've watched recently. The audio transfer on the other hand delivers the goods, and the music and dialogue is well balanced throughout.
The DVD cover suggests this is a "Dance-off edition," but I think there's nothing on here to get all excited about. Besides eight deleted scenes and five music videos, the bonus material includes some mediocre outtakes and a 12-minute behind-the-scenes look entitled "Through the Fresh Eyes." This piece mainly focuses on director John M. Chu's vision, but viewers also get more insight into the casting, rehearsals, and the coordination of some of the film's major dance sequences. It's not that great of a making-of, but it's not that boring either. Rounding out the special features are a funny video prank and a rather lame look at the film's main dancing crew, which calls itself the 410.
The dancing is the only thing that kept me awake during the movie. Even though some of the moves we see here are not spectacular and pretty much standard material by now, there are select thrilling sequences that may make you move around your hips a little. The final dance battle is clearly the film's best and most impressive moment, and it's a shame we have to wait for it so long. In the end, the dancing can't save the film, but it serves as a much-needed refresher in between all the sappy romances and monotonous crew rivalries.
I can easily see why fans of the first film like this film enough to watch it several times, but everybody who's not a dance fanatic should definitely stay away from Step Up 2: The Streets.
Guilty. Now step down already!
Review content copyright © 2008 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (Widescreen)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Videos
* "The Making of Step Up 2"
* "Meet the 410"
* Video Prank