The dance routines still have plenty of zip, but when it comes to pacy storytelling the Step Up series is definitely flagging in Step Up: All In.
Having striven to refresh the franchise with trips to New York and Miami for the last two instalments (Step Up 3 and Step Up 4: Miami Heat), the filmmakers’ big wheeze this time is to round up characters from the first three sequels and pit them up against one another for a high-stakes reality TV competition in Las Vegas.
This means that Miami street dancer Sean (Ryan Guzman, toned of ab, furrowed of brow, and totally free of charisma) must fall out with his pals in The Mob and instead recruit a new dance crew conveniently made up of figures from the previous movies, including new love interest Andie, played by Step Up 2 the Streets’ husky-voiced star Briana Evigan.
Despite some half-hearted attempts by screenwriter John Swetnam to create will-they-won’t-they friction between them, the pair fail to generate romantic sparks, which leaves sneaky dance rival Jasper (Stephen Stevo Jones) and his Grim Knights crew to provide what passes in the film for dramatic tension.
Viewer interest flares whenever Izabella Miko’s slinky TV contest host is on screen, her OTT outfits and mannered demeanour echoing Elizabeth Banks’ Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games, but things only truly heat up for the climactic dance-off at Caesars Palace, in which our heroes bust their frenetic popping/locking moves and burn up the dance floor. And that, for fans, will be more than enough.
Certificate PG. Runtime 112 mins. Director Trish Sie.