Cast: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, and Adam G Sevani
Director: Trish Sie
With Step Up: All In, we've arrived at the fifth installment in the dance-movie franchise, although - let's face it - they really keep making the same movie over and over again. Sure the faces change, and they move from Baltimore to New York to Miami, but the plot seldom deviates from the trusted template: down-on-his-luck dancer nurtures big dreams, yearns to win major competition, learns valuable life-lessons and finds love along the way. These films may be predictable, but hey, who're we kidding, we go to them for the terrific dance routines.
The new film re-introduces us to Sean (Ryan Guzman), the hero of the last movie. His group, The Mob, isn't having much luck with their dancing careers in Los Angeles, and decides to head back home to Miami. But Sean stays on, determined to enter a reality dance show in Las Vegas, whose big prize is a three-year booking at Caesar's Palace. He seeks out Moose (Adam Sevani - remember him from the third film?) who helps Sean put a new team together. Say hello to characters from the previous films, including Andie (Briana Evigan from the second film), an injured dancer with trust issues, who Sean inevitably falls for.
Gone are the days when Hollywood produced bonafide actors with nimble feet: dancing stars like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Or even Channing Tatum, who broke out in the first Step Up film. The acting in dance movies now is strictly serviceable, and this one is no exception. Guzman is a good-looking kid who fills out a tank-top impressively, but he can barely hold a line. The dialogue is cheesy, and for some reason there's way too much talking here.
Choreographer-turned-director Trish Sie stages some impressive set-pieces, particularly the two that bookend the movie. There's a quieter, less flashy one between Sean and Andie at an abandoned theme-park ride set to Bobby Brown's Every Little Step. But surprisingly, there's nothing in this movie that stands out for its sheer inventiveness, like that arresting dance number staged in an art gallery in the previous film.
Step Up: All In has a few moments of genuine awe and wonder, but there's too much plot and relatively lesser dancing this time round, which defeats the very purpose of watching these movies. I'm going with two out of five. This franchise is in urgent need of some new moves.
Rating: 2 / 5