If you're expecting a dance movie to soar on the strength of its storytelling, look for another genre. Many modern dance movies, especially those featuring urban dance, follow a predictable template that features a) a fish out of water, b) the structured establishment that reluctantly accepts the fish, c) the ways the fish loosens up the establishment, and d) the ways the establishment refines the fish. But if you're expecting a dance movie to soar on the strength of electric set pieces and terrific musical accompaniment, Step Up 2: The Streets can definitely step up to the plate. Unlike many sequels, Step Up 2 is not just out to borrow the brand name of Anne Fletcher's surprise hit original. In fact, it even contains a casting link to the first movie, as Step Up star Channing Tatum shows up in the first act to bust a couple moves and introduce the fish du jour (Briana Evigan) to her rigid establishment. However, the exciting dance-off between Evigan and Tatum, which features a springboard sunken into the floor that the dancers use like a trampoline, is not the film's first explosive sequence, and not nearly its last. The film starts with the dance equivalent of a flash mob on a subway car, finishes with a street duel where the dancers cut swaths through the pouring rain, and includes all manner of funky grooves in between. At the same time, if Jon M. Chu's movie were only the sum of its dance moves, it would be lacking. The predictable template plays itself out nicely, with a good lead performance from Evigan as Andie, and enjoyable secondary performances from the dance academy misfits who form their own crew to take on Andie's former crew. Step Up 2: The Streets is a toe-tapping good time.
by Derek Armstrong review