Briana Evigan, Channing Tatum, Adam G. Sevani, Will Kemp
Toni Ann Johnson, Karen Barna
Fresh on the heels of the vastly superior and more racialy in tune Canadian dance flick "How She Move," "Step Up 2 the Streets" hip hops into your local theatre featuring the freshest dance moves around ("WORD!") from the likes of real life Jamal Sims, Hi Hat and Dave Scott.
A loose sequel of 2006's Channing Tatum led "Step Up," "Step Up 2 the Streets" features Briana Evigan in the lead role of Andie, a street dancer in the 4-1-0 who ends up enrolled at the Maryland School for the Arts and, after her loyalty to 4-1-0 is questioned, she breaks out on her own with a ragtag team of street dancers with fiery moves all hyped and down for the obligatory movie ending rain-soaked dance-off.
Watching "Step Up 2," I was immediately reminded of the massive drop in talent between Kirsten Dunst's "Bring It On" and the sequels that followed that surprisingly entertaining outing. The odd thing here, however, is that nobody in "Step Up" was particularly talented, thus, the considerable drop in talent is downright traumatic.
"Step Up 2" is literally filled with standard movie cliche's, almost to the point that one expects Debbie Allen to saunter in belting out "Fame" during one of the film's many dance scenes.
Despite the sub-par lead performance, "Step Up 2" works far better than one might think largely owing to director Jon Chu's ability to keep the film fast-paced and to keep Evigan dancing more than actually speaking.
Andie's fellow dancers at the Maryland School of the Arts include the required rich guy (Robert Hoffman), the geek (Adam G. Sevani) and the rich guy's hip hop-hating brother/dance instructor (Will Kemp). They all dance electrifyingly but, again, offer nothing special in the way of memorable performances.
As further proof of the idiocy of the Hollywood distribution machine, "Step Up 2 the Streets" opens up in wide release this weekend while the far superior "How She Move" languishes in relative obscurity on the arthouse circuit.
While its dance moves are mezmerizing, "Step Up 2 the Streets" sinks in the all too familiar potholes called bad acting and a storyline we've seen far too many times before.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic