STEP UP Fans of DIRTY DANCING and FAME will appreciate the moves in this tale of a sullen young thug named Tyler (Channing Tatum) who winds up doing community service at the Baltimore High School for the Performing Arts. At first he's just smirking and mopping the floors, but then Nora (Jenna Dewan), a talented dancer and choreographer, loses her partner to a fractured ankle mere weeks before the big showcase, and Tyler steps in as her partner. At first he doesn't take it too seriously but then again, he's never had a real chance in life. His best friend from the street (Damaine Radcliff) gets jealous and forces Tyler to decide which side of the tracks he thinks he belongs on. Meanwhile, romance heats up between Tyler and Nora, and there's some side business with the school's hip-hop composer (Mario) falling in love with Nora's hot friend Lucy (Drew Sidora), who is going out with an older man -a successful artist who cheats on her. As far as dramatic steps go, that's all fairly by the numbers, but the performances are strong. Tatum manages to be charismatic while playing his character like a real high school kid, that is to say, monosyllabically. The dialogue crackles and the editing is tight, while the big dance climax is, of course, a crowd-pleasing showstopper. Rachel Griffiths (SIX FEET UNDER) plays the school principal. Alyson Stoner connects with some warmth and spontaneity as Tatum's little sister, as does rapper Heavy D in a bit part as a local crime lord.
STEP UP 2 THE STREETS Jon M. Chu directs this feel-good sequel about pursuing what you love and finding yourself along the way. Andie (Briana Evigan, daughter of actor Greg Evigan) is a tough Baltimore teen who grew up dancing and is now part of the 410, the hottest dance crew in the city and reigning champions of the Streets, an underground dance competition. Unable to control Andie's rebellious ways, her guardian, Sarah (Sonja Sohn), has decided to send her to Texas to live with her aunt. But Andie has one last chance to stay with her crew in her beloved Baltimore: the Maryland School of the Arts (MSA). Unfortunately, maintaining her studies at MSA means less time with the 410. To make matters worse, Andie is having a hard time fitting in at her new high school, where tradition is revered and being outside the box is frowned upon. Luckily, she has a partner in crime in classmate Chase Collins (Robert Hoffman), whose stuffy brother, Blake (Will Kemp), is the school's director and a constant thorn in his younger brother's side. When the 410 boots Andie out, she and Chase find their own crew of overlooked MSA dancers and take it all the way to the Streets. The real star of STEP UP 2 THE STREETS is the amazing dancing and there's plenty of it. From the opening scene in a Baltimore subway to the playground to studio rehearsals to the Streets, these kids give it everything they've got. Channing Tatum briefly reprises his role as Tyler Gage, who knows Andie from the neighbourhood.
STEP UP 3 Moose (Adam Sevani) teams up with a talented street dance crew for a competition against some of the most talented hip-hop dancers around in this eye-popping instalment of the popular dance film series.