18. Step Up 3 (2010)

A step up from the earlier Step Ups

Directed by: Jon Chu
Written by: Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani

When watching a dance movie, one should always be prepared for three things: cheesy lines, poor acting and simplified storylines. The Step Up trilogy (wouldn’t be surprised if it continues to a fourth) has got this DOWN. While it sounds like I’m paying out these films, I’m actually highlighting the appeal of such movies. The reason for their success, and the reason studios keep investing in dance flicks is heavily based on the fact that we love watching ridiculously talented dancers take on no-brainer stories, always dealing with ideas of passion, following dreams and bringing down rivalries. Am I right, or am I right?

Ow my back.

Step Up 3, however, is a step up from the previous Step Up movies in that it’s directed better, structured better and shakes off the whole poor kid trying to make it into dance school routine that we’ve seen before. Instead, the film focuses on team spirit that unifies dancers coming from different backgrounds and styles. As a dance crew that welcomes inspiring dancers of all sorts invests so much effort and time into winning a large scale dance battle, there’s too much at stake to back down to an intimidating rival intent on taking away their awesome practice venue (they have a sponge pit like the YMCA!).

Unfortunately, Step Up 3 gets too swept up in seriousness and annoying little quips of friendship and love interest issues that draw further away from much needed humour and the clicky team dynamic that draws us in at the beginning. And as for the acting… let’s just say, thank god this cast can dance. Luckily Adam G. Sevani has that Disney kid charm and lightness that saves the film from the dullness of the other leads, and while the previous Step Ups lingered too long on angst, this third instalment breaks it up with enough montages and battles to keep our interest afloat. The ways in which these dance sequences are directed and edited in a way that is visually sharp and quick. In short – Jon Chu knows some good moves.

I mean, let’s not be too quick to judge when it comes to dance flicks. They do the best they can with what they’ve got. And since we keep coming back for more, I think brain-dead stories and average acting are fine so long as the choreographed filming is enough to move us.


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