Step Up: All In

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Step Up: All In

Step Up: All In kicks off with a montage showing the various members of dance crew “The Mob” auditioning for commercial work in Los Angeles. Stupid costumes, confusing instructions (“move right, but make it look like you’re moving left”), being openly ogled by the female casting agents, being told the job’s taken before they even get a chance to strut their stuff: it’s a big comedown from the flash mob social justice work The Mob were last seen doing in Step Up: Miami Heat. Guess that’s what happens when your last film ended with everyone celebrating about getting a big contract with Nike.
This is a dance movie so the story doesn’t really matter all that much: basically struggling dancer Sean (Ryan Guzman) is driven by personal demons (and the need to make a living) to enter a televised dance contest called The Vortex. He then gathers together a rag-tag group of skilled dancers from a wide range of backgrounds to form a crack team of underdogs that will enter a massive dance contest where they have no chance whatsoever of winning.
Step Up: All In takes a leaf out of Hollywood’s other brilliant yet under-appreciated franchise – the Fast & Furious films – by bringing back a bunch of characters from the previous films, including Briana Evigan (the midriff-baring Angie from Step Up 2: The Streets) and series regular Adam Sevani as Moose (he’s been in every Step Up film since the second one). Almost all of them are shown working crummy menial jobs, which they promptly quit for a chance at Vegas stardom – a chance that, the film repeatedly makes clear, is both slim and unlikely to make a long-term difference anyway.
First time director Trish Sie knows to not ruin Step Up: All In’s dance sequences with excessive editing: when someone pulls off an impressive move, you actually see them doing the move from start to finish. Suffice to say that the dance sequences are both plentiful and impressive (if oddly aggressive) while the story lacks the over-the-top nuttiness of previous instalments. Instead, with its focus on dancers trying to make a living, this has a surprisingly harsh edge. Well, a harsh edge for a movie in which a guy who only does “The Robot” falls in love with an equally robotic girl dancer and all their love is expressed robotically.
By Anthony Morris