Release Date (UK) – 6th August 2010
Certificate (UK) – 12A
Country – USA
Director – Jon Chu
Runtime – 107 mins
Starring – Rick Malambri, Adam G Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Alyson Stoner
Moose (Sevani) has just started an engineering degree at New York University, but his passion for dancing begins to get in the way of his schoolwork when he meets Luke (Malambri), the leader of the ‘House of Pirates’ dance group. Luke runs his own New York dance club, but let’s wandering dancers stay in his flat above the club where they practice their moves. When the club runs into financial trouble, the ‘Pirates’ must compete against the ‘House of Samurai’ in the World Jam dance contest, to win the much needed $100,000 prize money.
Step Up 3D is painfully clichéd in its story and chain of causation, but if you can laugh at these clichés. rather than try to take the film at all seriously, then this works so well that you do end up wondering if the writers were trying to be satirical after all. Luke and Moose both have dappy love interests which they go through the usual on/off motions with, and Luke even has an unoriginal drippy orphan back-story. His life aspiration is to go to film school (all the way in California) and this is presented as if a mammoth task, hilariously exaggerated.
The best way to watch Step Up 3D is to take these exaggerated plot devices as comedy, and by far the best moment is the acronym that Luke comes out with to classify his fellow dancers – BFABB: Born from a Boom Box. No other film could get away with such a cheesy line in its plot without being completely ridiculed, but somehow Step Up manages to weave it into the story. There are some intentional comic moments elsewhere that also raise a smile – when Moose asks a classmate his name he receives the cheeky reply ‘silence in class’ and the Pirates’ Santiago Twin dancers (played by The Lombard twins) provide some cheesy romantic attempts at seducing the other girl dancers.
Step Up 3D was filmed in 3D rather than converting later on, and this is another example to add to the list that proves James Cameron’s point that its certainly worth doing it this way round. Whilst ‘conversion’ live action films like Clash of the Titans look shoddy, Step Up looks realistic and is very easy on the eye. There are however a couple of moments where it does sink in to the tacky side of 3D visuals, particularly when Luke and Natalie share a kiss standing over a metro grating and the bright liquid from their slushy’s spin up into the air around them.
The dance choreography is probably the films most redeeming feature, there are no obvious slip ups or out of time moves and the ensemble pieces keep the film flowing steadily. Unfortunately the casting of the film seemed to revolve much more around dancing than acting skills, so whilst the dance and 3D scenes give the film its credibility, the acting is so stale and occasionally downright awful it often outweighs this.
If you’re crazy about dance moves and the art of dance then Step Up 3D is for you. However if you like a realistic script and at least a basic quality level of acting, then this film is not the one for you.