PG – 112mins – 2014 – 3D
First, let me preface this milestone performance with some limb-loosening stretches: I am a 32-year-old man and I realise I am not the dance-flick genre’s target demographic. However, I have a real soft spot for the Step Up franchise (Step Up 2: The Streets in particular), so please do not assume that due to my age and gender that All In will automatically receive a dismissive or negative review.
With that metaphoric warm-up out of the way, sadly this fourth sequel – promoted as the ultimate reunion instalment – definitely feels like a step down in quality – and not just because the title is a fallacy. While it is nice to see franchise alumni Briana Evignan and fan-favourite Adam “Moose” Sevani return, big-hitters Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and Sharni Vinson (to name but three previous stars) are not present. Maybe Some In would have been a more accurate, albeit less tantalising, subtitle?
Following on from Ryan Guzman’s success story in Step Up 4: Miami Heat (2012), All In charts the hugely coincidental rivalry between three dance crews battling it out in L.A. for a VH1 competition called “The Vortex”. A satirical stab at T.O.W.I.E.-style scripted reality shows aside, this is frustratingly predictable fare which goes overboard on cheesy humour, thereby diminishing the human drama behind the tireless troupe.
The usually first-rate choreography also failed to garner the WOW factor on the confined TV-taping stage. Maybe it’s just franchise fatigue, but even some impressive in-your-face utilisation of the cinematic third dimension couldn’t win me over this time around, and a major shake-up of this tired routine will be needed to tempt me back onto the dancefloor for the inevitable sixth Step. Maybe that will be my 200th CR@Blog?