Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Step Up 2: The Streets - DVD Review

STEP UP 2 THE STREETS (**) - Starring Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G. Sevani, Will Kemp, Cassie Ventura, Black Thomas, Sonja Sohn and Channing Tatum.
Directed by John Chu.

Never saw Step Up, which is fine, since the only tie it has to the first movie is a cameo by one of its leads.

This time around we have Andi (Briana Evigan, daughter of Greg), a "street" girl who spends her time with the 4-1-0, a streetdancing team that likes random public displays of dancing, which makes them a public nuisance. It's silly, but I can see it appealing to young teens.

Andi catches the eye of Chase (Robert Hoffman), who invites her to join the Maryland School of the Arts. There she is an outcast because she's from the "streets" and then she's kicked out of the 4-1-0 because she's spending too much time at the snobby school.

I was enjoying the light street-competiton storyline until it veered serious, with the rival team engaging in vandalizing the school and jumping individuals. Isn't this just about dancing? I don't remember Kirsten Dunst getting beat up in Bring It On.

The race elements felt weird. They're largely ignored, with whites and blacks and everything in between mixing it up, dancing together. Then when Tuck, black man, leader of the 4-1-0 steps up his wrath, going from street-dancer to thug, that's when the hollowness of the script started to get to me. That's when it's clear the 4-1-0 is mostly black and Andi's team is mostly white.

It all comes to the Showdown, a street dance-off that Andi's new crew isn't allowed to participate in. Cuz the 4-1-0 says so. Andi then gives a nauseating speech about tolerance that includes swelling music, and the crowd is sold.

Oh, am I giving too much away?

There's a cameo from JabberwockieZ, the winners of MTV's America's Next Great Dance Crew. The dancing is the sole reason to watch, and it's pretty good. It's a varied enough mix of moves that I don't think it will be as instantly dated as Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo, but at least that movie will be famous for decades.

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