Like its predecessors in both the Step Up franchise and the dance-movie genre as a whole, Step Up All In requires a certain suspension of disbelief. It takes place in a world where challenges are issued and met through elaborate dance sequences, most of which require a level of spectator participation usually reserved for animated woodland creatures in Disney movies. When viewed through that cartoonish lens, Step Up All In is a relatively fun dance flick to add to the pile.
The film opens as a down-on-their-luck dance crew lament their lack of success following a move to L.A., where they had hoped that their appearance in a popular shoe commercial would catapult them to glory. ìThe Mob,î as they refer to themselves, dejectedly inform their leader Sean (Ryan Guzman) that they are moving on after a spontaneous dance battle with rival crew the Grim Knights leaves them the laughingstock of a popular nightclub. Not to be deterred, Sean enlists his best friend Moose (Adam G. Sevani) to help him put together another group, the ranks of which include the tough but honorable hoofer Andie (Briana Evigan), as well as Vladd (Chadd Smith), who communicates exclusively by doing the Robot. The new crew, Sean hopes, will win a coveted three-year contract as backup dancers for Las Vegas sensation Alexxa Brava (Izabella Miko).
Their audition comes in the form of a reality show called The Vortex, which requires the group, who have dubbed themselves LMNTRIX (pronounced ìelementrixî), to face off against both the Grim Knights and the Mob (who now carry no small amount of resentment for Sean). Clearly modeled after existing reality shows such as Americaís Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance, The Vortex lends the film some credibility that was missing from the prior installments. The expensive sets and mysteriously procured, customized clothing can be explained away as part of the typical production costs of a reality show, and the flashy Las Vegas backdrop allows the movie to shut up and be a showstopper.
This is a good thing, as the film really needs to shut up a lot of the time. Vladdís robot-speak is a welcome distraction from the dialogue, which frequently returns to an embarrassingly schmaltzy debate between Sean and Andie regarding the true spirit of dance (he wants to attain success through performing, while she views the crew as a surrogate family drawn together by a shared passion thatís more important than achieving fame -- guess who wins?). Still, weak script and all, the dancers that comprise the talent portion of Step Up All In do indeed put on a show. The final act, to the surprise of no one, involves a sudden understanding of the true heart of a dancer. Wrongs are righted, misunderstandings are cleared up, and villainous conspiracies are unraveled in an over-the-top extravaganza that turns an otherwise run-of-the-mill dance movie into a successful popcorn flick.
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- Released: 2014
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Like its predecessors in both the Step Up franchise and the dance-movie genre as a whole, Step Up All In requires a certain suspension of disbelief. It takes place in a world where challenges are issued and met through elaborate dance sequences, most of wh… (more)