Step Up 2: The Streets - Review
Review by Jack Foley
AS IMPRESSIVE as the dance routines of Step Up 2: The Streets consistently are, Jon Chu’s sequel still feels like a lacklustre re-tread of countless other dance movies in this over-worked genre.
The story, for instance, is virtually identical to past hits Stomp The Yard and There She Move, not to mention the original Step Up, while the acting only really comes to life during the stylish dance routines.
The film follows the fortunes of orphaned teenage rebel Andie (Briana Evigan) as she attempts to rebuild her life in Baltimore after being threatened with relocation to Texas following the uproar caused by her dance crew’s latest public disturbance.
Encouraged by friend and older brother figure Tyler Gage (Channing Tatum) to improve her lot by auditioning for the Maryland School of Arts, the very same place that inspired him to better his life, Andie reluctantly auditions and wins a place.
But her new school regime makes it difficult for her to hold onto her former life and she’s quickly thrown out of her old crew for a lack of commitment. Determined to pursue her dream of competing in The Streets, however, Andie teams up with Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman), the school’s hottest dancer and brother of the school’s close-minded director, to form their own dance crew with their talented classmates and realise her ambition.
On the plus side, Step Up 2 does boast a number of impressively choreographed dance sequences that genuinely do impress because of the athleticism on display.
But there’s just no escaping the feeling that we’ve been here once too many times before, while the depiction of several supporting character is cliched at best.
Andie’s adoptive mother, for instance, has little to do but continually threaten her charge with Texas, while the Maryland School principal is a cardboard cut-out traditionalist who continually resists Andie’s attempts to bring a new style of dance to the studios. Their change of heart during the feelgood finale is telegraphed way in advance.
The central relationship between Andie and Chase is also way too predictable and doesn’t really provide the young leads with anything to work with during the rare moments they’re not dancing together.
So, while the energetic soundtrack and whole-hearted nature of the dance sequences does breathe some life into this over-familiar premise, they can’t really mask the inherent failings of a film that asks kids to take risks and be different as its main message without taking any of its own.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release: July 14, 2008