Step Up 2 the Streets (US - BD RA)
No, Gabe does not want to dance, he's happy being a wallflower, thank you...
Andie (Briana Evigan) is a fantastic little dancer whose step mother (I think?) threatens to send her off to Texas if she doesn’t get her act together. Her skills land her in a prestigious Baltimore performing arts school, but her street upbringing makes getting along with her classmates difficult. To top it off her street friends aren’t happy with her missing practice, and kick her out of the squad. She catches the eye of one of the schools biggest stars, who convinces her to start up a new squad, using students from the school.
I, uh, didn’t know there was a Step Up part one, and the title Step Up 2 the Streets doesn’t necessarily point to a sequel. Needless to say, I’m a little shocked by the fact that there’s another Step Up somewhere out there. There are so many movies about teen prodigies pulling themselves up by the bootstraps already I simply can’t imagine the need for any of them to feature a sequel.
Step Up 2 the Streets is the most disgusting pop culture filter for white people I think I’ve ever seen, this side of the Disney Channel. Every major character supports pasty flesh, but are surrounded by genuine black people, and speak Ebonics with more flare then a 42nd Street pimp in hopes of gaining some kind of street cred. The blatant racial stereotypes are actually kind of shocking (this coming from the guy that didn’t think Fight for Your Life was particularly shocking). Seriously, if you’re going to sell black culture to white Middle America, at least have the gumption to steal it with a bold face. Some of the characters are actually defined by their race and that race’s stereotypes alone, while non-Anglo Saxon cultures are toured like a thinly veiled freak show. And god forbid one of the white leads ends up with romantically involved with someone outside of their own race.
Actually, race relations are the least of this film’s problems. Mostly I was just so bored I ended up latching onto the film’s one interesting facet, which is unfortunately a negative one. I don’t expect anything original out of a dance movie for teens, but do we really need every single cliché tossed into this pot (am I really talking about clichés again? Oh my god, that’s my cliché! Complaining about clichés!)? Have you ever seen Sister Act? Or Bad News Bears? Or The Mighty Ducks? That swimming movie I reviewed a couple of months back? Or the, like, six episodes of South Park that make fun of these misfits make good movies? Then you’ve seen Step Up 2 the Streets, everything but a few dance moves.
Really the only thing I expected from the film was a few ‘phat’ beats and some ‘slammin’ moves. I like watching dancing. I watch America’s Next Best Dance Crew. I knew who the Jabbawockeez were. Step Up 2 the Streets isn’t a bad dance movie, but it didn’t make me want to get up and pump my fist screaming ‘Hell yeah! Drop it like it’s hot!’ Some of the dancing is kind of lethargic, and director John Chu often over cuts them. The point of this kind of dancing is to see the group dancing in sync with one another, and Chu’s cutting features too many close-ups and confusing quick cuts. Strangely enough he actually shoots the non dance scenes with a quiet effectiveness, maintaining focus without lopping the camera off, or getting too flashing with the angles and editing. But there are some solid numbers, and it’s hard to complain about Briana Evigan’s milky curves.
I expected a very colourful movie when I hesitantly crammed Step Up 2 the Streets in my player, based on the trailers that graced every single Disney Blu-ray I’ve seen over the past several months, but cleverly enough Chu has opted to desaturate most of the non-dance scenes, both optically, and in the case of costumes. This was probably to accentuate the liveliness of the dances, but it has the additional effect of creating a space where the dance is the only thing for the characters to live for. The disc looks great, though part of the desaturation process seems to dull details and create a bit of grain, though nothing particularly extreme. The more colourful scenes sport poppy vibrancy, sharp contrast, bright whites, and deep blacks. There’s a tiny bit of overall blocking to some of the solid colours, specifically yellows and oranges.
This Dolby track features all the throbbing bass and cracking treble I expected from a break dancing movie, but the music tracks are, for the most part, just uncompressed versions of stereo mixes, with a few Pro-Logic centre effects. I would’ve been more impressed with some totally remixed tracks that incorporated the rear channels. The only five channel mixing I really noticed was during the final dance, which incorporates sound effects, and some additional score. The rest of the mix is pretty standard, with well centred and crystal clear dialogue, and a few minor surround effects, like cheering crowds.
I am so happy to announce that there is no commentary track to be found on this disc, meaning I only had to watch the film once. But there are a fair collection of extras, starting with a collection of eight deleted scenes, all with director intros. Some of the deletions are actually dance numbers which kind of sucks considering that the dance scenes are likely the only reason to see the film in the first place (including a Jabbawockeez number that’s easily better than anything that made the final cut). My critical side says that the character deletions were a good call, but the dance deletions were a bad move. The scenes are anamorphically enhanced, but don’t appear to be high definition, and everything’s presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround. This entire section, including intros runs just over twenty two minutes.
‘Through Fresh Eyes’ is a semi-fluffy twelve minute behind the scene video diary, which is mostly made up of raw set footage and slow ball interviews. The inclusion of director Chu’s childhood movies is a nice one. It’s followed by a five minute featurette with the 410 Crew dancers. ‘Robert Hoffman’s Video Prank’ is a cruel dance trick played on an unsuspecting convenience store guy, and it lasts a whopping two minutes. The disc also features five music videos and a handful of Disney Blu-ray sneak peeks.
Step Up 2 the Streets is a terrible film, that placates to every audience in the wrong ways, avoiding any of the culture behind the dance. It’s as demeaning and suburbanated as possible. I’m actually shocked by the PG-13 rating, because save the breast thrusts you already saw in the trailer these dances are just as chaste as they are bland. I guess I may’ve been raised to be a little overly sensitive to these kinds of things, but had this been an adult film with adult characters I’m sure I’d be amused rather than offended. To top it off, the plot is a rehash and the best dances are in the deleted scenes menu.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13
Release Date: 15th July 2008
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: PCM 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English HoH, French, and Spanish
Extras: 'Thru Fresh Eyes', Outlaws of Hip Hop: Meet the 410s, Robert Hoffman Video Prank, Deleted Scenes, Music Videos, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Chu
Cast: Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G. Sevani, Cassie (II), Will Kemp
Length: 93 minutes
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