Question. Who thought it made sense to make a third “Step Up” movie? I mean, were the first two popular enough to warrant a trilogy? I was under the impression that was only reserved for box office hits like “Lord of the Rings,” “The Godfather,” “Back to the Future,” “The Matrix” or “Toy Story.” After all, each “Step Up” film has the same general plot-line so it’s getting just a tad repetitive at this point. For this reason, I walked in with very few expectations of “Step Up 3D.” However, while the film is still on the cheesy end of the spectrum and the story line somewhat redundant, it did exceed my expectations.
“Step Up 3D” takes place in New York City, the “dance capital of the world.” The main character, Luke (Rick Malambri), owns a house that also serves as a dance studio where his team, the Pirates, lives and practices. However, the bank is about to foreclose on it as the Pirates have missed several of their mortgage payments. The main plot of the film involves Luke recruiting dancers for the World Jam competition to battle against their rival, the Samurais, so that he can use the reward money to pay off his bills and keep the house. Luke recruits his soon-to-be love interest, Natalie (Sharni Vinson), and Moose (Adam G. Sevani), who returns from “Step Up 2: The Streets” to join the Pirates. Sounds like a simple enough plot, right?
One of the problems with “Step Up 3D” is that the film is trying too hard to fill in the gaps by throwing in several unnecessary sub-plots. These include Luke’s aspiring film-making career, Moose’s school and dance conflict-of-interest, and two different love stories: Luke/Natalie and Moose/Camille (played by Alyson Stoner, known for her back-up dancing in Missy Elliott music videos and her appearance in the first “Step Up” film). Sure, it’s still easy enough to follow, but it subtracts from the main point of the film: dancing.
Nevertheless, from a dancer’s perspective, “Step Up 3D” is probably an improvement from the first two installments as it features more dancing and competition than its previous counterparts. However, for the Average Joe, the story line, or shall we say story lines, is predictable and clichéd.
On a positive note, the 3D aspect of the film enhances its entertainment value as the dancers literally pop out at you during some of their routines. However, some may find this a bit overkill. The water, colors, lights and special effects also make it entertaining to watch. All in all, the film has a very limited target audience: dancers. Therefore, if you are a dancer or interested in dance, this film is for you. Otherwise, it may only be worth renting or perhaps missing altogether.