Step Up 3D

One hundred and ten years ago, movie audiences didn’t give a hoot about plot. They went to be wowed by things they’d never seen—say, an elephant getting electrocuted—and things they’d never seen that way, like a train hurtling head-on toward them. With Step Up 3D, we’ve come full circle. It’s beyond me why this script took two writers (Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer). The first five minutes literally set up the entire arc about an NYU freshman (Step Up 2 alum Adam G. Sevani) torn between his parents’ hopes for an engineer and a dance crew who needs his skillz to win $100K at a competition and pay the mortgage on their four-story Manhattan home/studio/nightclub. Led by wannabe filmmaker Luke (Rick Malambri), the Pirates and their warehouse mansion are unabashed fantasy. One room is full of rare Nikes, another is wallpapered in boomboxes, and the crew itself—a multicultural love fest with two breakdancing Argentinean twins (Martin and Facundo Lombard) as comic relief and nightly dinners where the place settings have forks and chopsticks. Their rivals, the Samurais, wear wristwatches with speakers so they can challenge them to a dance-off at the drop of a pop, lock and drop it. And when Pirates and Samurais meet up at the World Dance Championships, the crowd waves flags from Norway and Australia—despite the fact that none of the crews are headquartered beyond the Bronx. It’s Hollywood nonsense and director Jon Chu doesn’t care. He’s too busy dazzling us with supernatural moves and aggressive 3D. Helicopter spins already look great with an extra dimension, but Chu throws balloons and bubbles and dust and water on the dance floor, and the squads backflip and clap and do everything possible to fling it in our faces. A witchy dancer in gloves cut from Michael Jackson’s red jacket does Captain EO fingers at the camera, and later, on top of an industrial air conditioner, Luke and his lithe crush Natalie (Sharni Vinson) ballet with Slurpees. Everyone in the cast can dance, even if only half can act—the revelation is 18-year-old Sevani, a goofy charmer who wins the audience over in a long, tracking shot street shuffle. He’s got the ease of Gene Kelly and he can do the robot. Half a century ago, that was all you needed to become a star. Here’s hoping Hollywood gives him a shot.

Click here for Step Up 3D in the IE Weekly

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