DIRECTOR: Trish Sie LEAD CAST: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Alyson Stoner, Adam Sevani, Isabella Miko, Mari Koda, Christopher Scott, Luis Rosado SCREENWRITER: John Swetnam PRODUCER: Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman EDITOR: Niven Howie PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Devorah Herbert COSTUME DESIGNER: Soyon An MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Jeff Cardoni GENRE: Drama, Romance, Musical & Performing Arts CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brian Person DISTRIBUTOR: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate LOCATION: United States RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes
Technical assessment: 3 Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V14 MTRCB rating: PG
A squabble over financial issues leads to a split up between Sean (Ryan Guzman) and the dancing group Mob. The group returns to Florida while Sean is left alone to slug it out in Los Angeles, applying for a job in a dance hall owned by the immigrant parents of his friend Moose (Adam Sevani). Humiliated that the job he gets is not as a dancer but as a janitor, he has no choice but to take it, burdened with a long overdue rent. Soon he learns about The Vortex, a dance contest in Las Vegas hosted by Alexxa Brava (Isabella Miko), and wastes no time putting together a dance group, determined to compete, especially as the winning group will get a three-year contract in Las Vegas as prize. In the contest, Sean finds his new group competing not only with the formidable Grim Knights but also with his ex-crew, the Mob.
Moviegoers who come to see Step Up All In for the dance move—and not for a psychological insight into young dancers aspiring to leave their mark in a ruthless industry—will not be disappointed because the plot, trite and even more predictable than the series’ four predecessors, is all but overshadowed by the spectacular dance numbers. Director Sie—music video director and former competitive ballroom dancer—made sure her team of three choreographers delivers the clever and eye-popping fresh moves to inspire the young moviegoers with a yen for dance contests. If the thin plot and the matching acting seem like a cure for insomnia, the 3D dances are like caffeine consumed intravenously.
This is not to say that Step Up All In is totally bereft of a redeeming message. Determination is one value that is emphasized, particularly for talented young people facing all sorts of difficulties. The movie is strong on pursuing one’s dream at all cost, including humbling oneself and taking on menial jobs in the hope of being in the right place at the right time in order to turn dreams into reality. Admirable, too, is the new realization among the dancers that winning the competition is not the end all and be all of dancing, and that developing the art is a most worthy motive.