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Review: Step Up 3D (2010)

Director: Jon M. Chu | 105 minutes | drama, music, romance | Actors: Adam G. Sevani, Rick Malambri, Alyson Stoner, Sharni Vinson, Harry Shum Jr., Ally Maki, Christopher Scott, Kylie Goldstein, Cheryl Alessio, Luis Rosado, Ruby Feliciano, Stephen Boss,

Why make it difficult when it can also be done easily? The screenwriters of “Step Up 3D” rely on a proven recipe to stage the lavish dance scenes. The story of this third “Step Up” part is thinner than the average dancer in the company, but with so much spectacle, it’s okay that the stage is made of plywood instead of concrete. You watch “Step Up 3D” if you like dance films; not for the great plot or the exciting character developments. The offers you more than enough dance scenes that you will see with open mouth.

Moose ( from “Step Up 2”) came to New York with his best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner) to study electrical engineering. Even before he has reported to campus – and just after he has said goodbye to his over-concerned parents and urged them to give up dancing – he finds himself in a street dance battle. Which he wins. His victory is captured on by Luke (Rick Malambri), who rescues Moose from the hands of the police (long story … okay, not that long, but not interesting) and takes him to his shelter: a large department store ideally located in New York. Downstairs it is a nightclub, upstairs Luke lives with a couple of dancers, all of whom he picked up from the street. Together they form the House of Pirates, a dance group that unites different dance forms.

We soon find out that there are major financial problems: Luke is about five months behind in paying the mortgage. If they don’t quickly cough up that debt, their sanctuary and rehearsal space will be auctioned off. Luke does not see it gloomy, though: with Moose in their ranks, surely they should win that one important game and collect the $ 100,000 prize money? Moose isn’t the only new talent in the group, though. Luke has also had his eye on the gorgeous Natalie (Sharni Vinson). And, you can already feel it coming: that is not only because of her flexibility, it turns out later. The preliminary rounds go through effortlessly, but then the problems really start: Moose puts his friendship with Camille on the line and also between Natalie and Luke the trouble. And that annoying bank keeps whining about that overdue interest …

Visually, “Step Up 3D” is well put together. Attractive actors (especially Vinson and Malambri will make hearts beat faster), fantastic moves that are perfectly choreographed and very nicely portrayed; even the scenes that don’t take place on the dance floor are expertly filmed. Malambri is sometimes reminiscent of a cross between Brian Austin and in appearance, not in acting talent. His acting scores barely more than a meager pass. That of his co-star Vinson does not end either, but that could also be due to the unexposed characters (what does she actually want to do in California?). We hardly learn anything more from Moose and Camille than that they are best friends (and that Camille is secretly in love with Moose). So real compassion does not work. But hey, the looks nice and makes you want to loosen up your stiff muscles after almost two hours and that never hurts.

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