For as much as I might viscerally disagree with the creation of a film or its sequel, I lay much of the blame at you, the viewer and movie-going public. You created the furor around the Step Up series of films. You all went in droves to the first film when it was released in August 2006, when movies were winding down in the blockbuster season and thus helped it make $65 million domestically and more than $110 worldwide. It’s your fault that another film was inevitable, so in the down-turn of this past February, we got a second one. That one made about the same domestically, but made $30 million or so more and almost brought in $150 million worldwide. Count on the fact that another 90-minute film about teens dancing will be made and that the Step Up trilogy (I threw up in my mouth a little when writing that) will be complete.
Step Up 2 was written by Toni Ann Johnson (Mean Father) and Karen Barna, which begs the overall question of why TWO people needed to write a movie about dancing, but I digress. John Chu (When The Kids Are Away) directed. Andie is played by Briana Evigan, and if the name is familiar to you, she’s the daughter of Greg Evigan of BJ and the Bear fame. Briana does not look like a chimp, for the record. She decides to become friends with Chase (Robert Hoffman, She’s the Man) at a school the two go to in Maryland. They try to join an exclusive dance crew named the 410 and are rejected, so they start their own dance crew to go against the 410 in a dance competition. That’s the story, but the main focus is on the film and the dancing. The dancing carries the film from beginning to end and is peppered excessively throughout, and that’s what people cared for and what people saw.
To some degree, the whole “dance as expression” thing is a little too overused. Andie, Chase and the other dance members of a group called the “MSA” use it to punk a member of the 410. And whereas the success of other films like Save the Last Dance or even Fame used capable performers to help convey the story, step Up 2 uses pretty kids and expects you to fall for it. And as a non-dancing white guy, I must stand up and say “No sir!”
If you thought that a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack for Step Up 2 was imperative and that it had to sound good, well, you’d be right, and it does sound nice. Dynamic range of the music-heavy program is good, with a nice balance between dialogue and the music, and the bass is present through the songs as well, as if I was going through my own neighborhood. It’s not too immersive an experience, but it does the job.
In 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Step Up 2 looks okay I suppose. The exterior sequences look pretty good, though blacks tend to lose a bit of contrast from time to time, and some of the club sequences appear to have some noise in the shots. But it’s not like this thing was going to be a technical gem, so I shouldn’t complain I guess.
(Both for the sake of avoiding redundancy and just my general laziness, Jamie Shuhyta’s Blu-ray review of the extras has been used here, as the extras are the same on the SD as on the BD. Feel free to check out the entire review at intotheblu.com.)
“If you’re a fan of the series then you’ll love the extras, especially the music videos, if not then there’s nothing really for you here.
• Through Fresh Eyes: The Making of Step Up 2 – Chu talks about the behind-the-scenes of his production. While this had no real appeal to me, I must say the dance choreography is pretty intense and features some very skilled performers.
• Music Videos – The vid’s are presented in standard def, and includes Flo Rida’s “Low” with T-Pain, Missy Elliot’s “Shake Your Pom Pom,” Cherish’s “Killa” with Yung Joc, Plies’ “Hypnotized” with Akon, and Brit & Alex’s “Let It Go.”
• Deleted Scenes – Includes eight deletions plus introductions by Chu.
• Outlaws of Hip Hop: Meet the 410 – The 410 talk shop about dance and its effect on people. It’s ok but nothing special.
• Robert Hoffman Video Prank – A fun little prank, check it out.”
If you’re a man or women under 30 who likes dancing and nice-looking people, then Step Up 2 is just the movie for you. Unfortunately, I’m only one of those things, so I found this a rather painful 90-minute death march of Bataan-like proportions. The technical specs are ok, the extras are a little light, so I’d consider renting it at best if you’re curious or really like the film.