Less style. More substance.

After four movies, the Step Up series has gradually managed to even out between visually pleasing dance sequences and a dramatic storyline. Even as it does so, it goes bland in trying to cater to both moviegoers and dancers. This results in an average plot flourished with mediocre dance choreography. As someone that does both street dance and movie reviews, Step Up: All In left me feeling indifferent at best, or more aptly described in Singaporean slang as “meh”.

The main cast members reprise their roles in this fifth installment, with returning characters Moose, Jenny, Hair, Sean and the Santiago twins all pumped up to slay the game once more. Those familiar with the movie would realise that there is a likeness in the plot with the previous step up movie. The only stark difference is the setting of the story in Las Vegas, which ties in the go big or go home theme. That said, the characters are only briefly introduced as the story progresses, so either you recognize them or take them at face value.

Step Up: All In does not seem to have gone “all out”, pun intended. In dance sequences, there is a clear lack of unique “wow” moments, save for certain steps that exploit the 3D effect. Otherwise, the choreography barely met the benchmark that were set by the previous installments of the franchise. When it seems to get better, there is a dramatic turn for the movie as it became both anti-climatic and melodramatic. Expecting better choreography was innate when watching this movie, but this craving was not satisfied. The choreography clearly lacked moments that made you hold your breath.

As for plot, choreographer and director Trish Sie paced it as best as could be, juggling the numerous characters and moving the story forward. While it seemed fast and convenient, she does get to the point quickly and straight into action. Bear in mind that this is after all a dance movie, so as long as it isn’t too cheesy, it is generally fine.

Amidst the very predictable plot and romance between the main leads, Step Up: All In is worth a watch, though not necessarily in 3D. With less testosterone, more humour and a good mix of melodrama, this seeks to only be a light-hearted dance and music movie. So take away the logic loopholes and enjoy the entertainment that it is made to be.

Step Up: All In is now showing in theatres islandwide.

Directed by: Trish Sie
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Running time: 112 minutes
Classification: PG
Release date: 4 September 2014
Rating: 2.5/5

This film was reviewed in the 3D format.