Copyright © 2010 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
From Maryland to New York, Moose (Adam G. Sevani) is now a major in electrical engineering and about to begin his first year but a chance meeting with Luke Katcher (Rick Malambri) and his crew from the House of Pirates thrusts him back into the dance scene. He finds it increasingly difficult to balance his studies and practice for the ‘World Jam’ with the group but does not want to let his new friends down as the cash prize will ensure the Pirates’ warehouse-turned-club/home is not auctioned off due to unpaid rents. His friendship with Camille Gage (Alyson Stoner) is strained along the way but is repaired when she realises that he is great at what he does and encourages him to continue pursuing it.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, why is this slick but clichéd amalgam of better underdog tales not stepping up to the plate in its third showcase? Not that it is not a charm, just not the threequel that it could have been. After missing the mark twice, it does come out marginally improved in several areas but the basic ingredient that distinguishes it from being hokey and merely okay is sadly still missing in this installment.
The idea of a selfless leader whose aspirations in filming and dedication to dance is bursting with potential, enough material to not only fill the entire running time, it would make for a compelling watch also should there be a spin-off to his character. It does not stop right there as the other story arcs involving Natalie (Sharni Vinson) and Julien’s (Joe Slaughter) opposing views on loyalty and Moose’s struggle to do what he loves are all identifiable issues faced in real life.
If only they did not play second fiddle to another round of stunning choreography that takes centre stage once again. An unwise decision to box its reach to only its core faction of moviegoers. Smashes of the year like ‘Inception’, ‘Easy A’ and ‘The King’s Speech’ are just a few which gained from good word-of-mouth. This latest edition probably would have benefitted similarly if the powers that be did not take the safest route in fortifying its chances for the best financial returns.
The story’s predictability and superficiality erases the film’s promising start and progressive view on the impact dance has on the youth. Although it fails as a social commentary, the ‘candid’ moments Katcher captures from his fellow dancers and their sincere responses provide the loudest voice; enough to even drown out the eclectic mix from a masterfully chosen set of songs. The used of each song is carefully represented to advance the varying moods and frequently expanding dance genres.
There is no need for me to go into the details on the dance routines but if I have to sum it up in one word, it would be electrifying. Bringing back most of the creative team from ‘Step Up 2’ and promoting Sevani to co-lead are strokes of genius. He already was quite a charmer in number two but here, his passion for the arts and contradicting feelings to fulfill his parents’ dreams are ventured deeper in compensating for the movie’s hollowed yet still sultry looking shell.
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language