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"Step Up 2 The Streets" Review

I have had an inexplicable obsession with this movie for over two years since seeing this trailer:

Especially the shot at 1:17 (after the "STEP UP" title card) with star Briana Evigan (daughter of BJ and the Bear - ask your grandparents, kids - star Greg Evigan) dancing and grabbing herself in the rain. It goes by in a flash - it's only 1-1/4 seconds long - I know because I made an animated GIF of it and it's 30 frames long.

I'm not a fan of the "urban wigga dance flick" genre (e.g. Save The Last Dance et al) and even when breakdancing movies like Beat Street and Breakin' were popular in the Eighties, I didn't bother with them. But for some reason this movie - and that shot - has occupied a too-large spot in my mind. I downloaded a copy of it, but never watched it and a month ago, I took advantage of a sale at Hollywood Video's web site to get a Blu-ray copy for $5.50. If I was gonna watch the darn thing and see what had piqued my curiosity, I may as well see it in the best way possible.

1080p doesn't make a lame movie better.

OK, I wasn't expecting Chicago or even Xanadu from Step Up 2 The Streets, but it is dashed off so haphazardly from the rote story to the underwhelming dancing that it doesn't even reach the bottom rungs of my low expectation ladder.

Evigan is Andie, a spunky street-dancing orphan in Baltimore whose guardian is tired of her antics and threatening to send to relatives in Texas unless she auditions, gets accepted, and does well in the elite Maryland School of the Arts. (Imagine the school from Fame but in Baltimore and a much lousier movie called Semi-Obscurity.) Of course, the snooty audition panel doesn't know what to make of her booty dancing, but it's a'ight cuz the school's headmaster has a brother, Chase (Robert Hoffman), who's a secret street dancer and convinces them to take her in.

Since she's busy staying in school and missing her old street crew practices, she gets tossed out by them, but it's OK because Chase helps her put together a new school crew with all the misfits that somehow slipped into the MSA and they practice with the goal of winning "The Streets", a dance contest that blah-blah-woof-woof...OK, who really gives a crap?

What works? Evigan looks like a huggable Demi Moore who looks cute and curvaceous in some angles and oddly plain in others. (She's got a square head above her round bosom.) She dances alright and brings enough spunk to the cardboard character she plays to make Andie tolerable.

What doesn't work? Just about everything else. The dance scenes are somewhat airless and poorly covered. The angle about the two brothers is junk on top of the fact one bro seems to be from another country, possibly Denmark or England. It's so busy running through the Stock Movie Trope Checklist that it doesn't take time to do any of them effectively. The most unique thing it pulls off is having a trio of minority thugs beat the hell out of the white guy without it seeming like a racially-motivated hate crime. Yay for small victories. Pffft.

Score: 3/10. Catch it on someone else's cable.

In the end, I should've just watched the download and saved the fiver. The irony is that the shot that entranced me in the first place isn't even in the final movie (along with a lot of other trailer moments), with the move performed a few times, but covered with less effective angles.


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