Making the Grades
Channing Tatum didn’t have a lot of Hollywood clout when he played a vandal forced to do community service at a dance school in the original Step Up movie. Since then his career has taken off and so has the dance-filled franchise, which has already grossed over $564 million worldwide. Step Up: All In is the fifth title to release and brings back stars from the previous films for a battle in Las Vegas.
I don’t know who has the smarter marketing strategy—the Step Up franchise or the promotion team who has found yet another film to spotlight the bright lights of the famous Strip. Either way you won’t see anything new. The desert city has its best marquees highlighted and Step Up: All In recycles the same old storyline: a troubled but seriously ripped hero, an uneasy love relationship and incredible dancing. If you can put up with the first two, then the dance moves are worth the ticket price.
Ryan Guzman is back from Step Up Revolution as Sean, leader of The Mob. After earning $50,000 for a Nike commercial, the Miami-based crew settled in Tinsel Town with dreams of making it big. But now a string of unsuccessful auditions has left them at the end of their finances. They’ve decided to pack up and head home. Sean, however, is too stubborn to give up and parts ways with the rest of the troupe.
A little later, after getting a job as a handyman in a Los Angeles dance studio, he stumbles across a competition called The Vortex. The winner of the Las Vegas contest gets a steady job with a three-year contract for a stage show in the city.
But rather than reassemble his old crew, Sean goes looking for a new one. He starts with the curly haired Moose (Adam Sevani) who helps muster a group of talented dancers (from previous movies). The first hurdle they have to clear is deciding which of them is in charge. Sean thinks it should be him. But Andie (Briana Evigan from Step Up 2: The Streets) has other ideas. Once that is settled, the gang begins planning their audition tape. Sean knows his main competition on The Vortex reality show will be Jasper (Stephen Stevo Jones) and the Grim Knight crew. What he doesn’t expect is to see The Mob there as well.
It’s a lightweight story with stilted dialogue, overacting and a sentimental monologue. The predictable plot doesn’t offer any problems you know won’t be resolved before the next big battle. Even Sean’s emphatic use of a strong sexual expletive seems out of place in a script that is relatively void of profanities. Still, you have to remember the story—as flimsy as it is—is only there to tie together a string of amazingly choreographed routines. On that front the performers come through.
Dancing for a livelihood is a tough career. That may be why some of these characters make this competition seem like a life and death contest. But considering some of the alternative ways people find to solve disputes, maybe the dance floor isn’t such a bad place to battle it out for supremacy.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Step Up: All In.
Sean says there is nothing real about a reality show. How do you feel about these types of programs? Do you vote for your favorite performer? Do you think it makes a difference if you vote or is the winner decided by the program’s producers?
Dancing is not an easy career choice. Would you be willing to put in the necessary work to be successful? How do these dancers support themselves when they are not dancing? Is Moose’s career path surprisingly different than the others? What are the physical challenges? Why is Andie hesitant to try Sean’s new move?
So just want is the criteria for a dance-off? There doesn’t seem to be a set of official rules that applies to everyone. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you want to compete in the National Schools Dance Competition.