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How 'Step Up All In' Compares to the Rest of the Modern Dance-Movie Subgenre

By Dustin Rowles | Film | August 8, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | August 8, 2014 |

Adam G. Sevani plays Moose in the Step Up series, and while no one from the original Charming Potato/Jenna Dewan version has reappeared in subsequent installments, Sevani is the glue that connects the second film to the franchise’s fifth, Step Up: All In. He’s was a scene stealer in the second film, a major player in the third, he came on relief in the fourth film (essentially to salvage it) and he’s once again a major player in All In, which is something of an all-star installment. Andie (Briana Evigan) — the star of the second film — joins a dance crew with Sean (Ryan Guzman) — the star of the fourth film — after his mob crew abandons him. Moose is the one who introduces the two, and he’s now in a relationship with Camille (Alyson Stoner), one of the stars of the third film.

None of this really matters, and certainly has little bearing on the plot itself. But for the first time in the Step Up series, there are some familiar faces from previous installments besides Moose, although most of the actors in the series are so bland and interchangeable that it’d be easy confuse them for each other. The only two that stand out from the past four films are Evigan, because she’s never owned a shirt that fell below her navel, and Sevani, because he’s arguably the most amazing dancer in the entire dance-film genre.

Sevani will Billie-Jean your face off.

I’ve seen all of these films — not just the Step Up movies, but the others, too (Stomp the Yard is probably the most entertaining of the genre, while How She Move is probably the best written and acted of the genre) — and it’s impossible to review them, really. The storylines and the acting performances are deplorable (Step Up Revolution being the low point), but they’re also completely beside the point. These movies are strictly about the dance performances and the choreography, and the only way I really know how to measure them is to count the number of “Oh My Gods” that involuntarily slip out of my mouth during each film.

Step Up: All In had about nine or ten “Oh My God” moments, which is slightly better than average, but not quite as impressive as Step Up 2: The Streets, which featured arguably the best dance sequence in any of these movies, the tour de force dance-in-the-rain finale that has not yet been topped in the genre, although Sevani’s performance in the water during the third movie came pretty goddamn close.

There are a few moments in Step Up All In, however, that at least approach that, and the finale — which brings in half the cast of the previous three films — is eye-popping and fun to watch. Sevani is heavily featured, along with a jaw-dropping Briana Evigan move, although the scene stealers are actually an adorable couple that both do the robot, which is reminiscent of this brilliant sequence in Revolution.

However, if there’s one complaint I have with All In — besides the usual gripes about these movies — it’s that the soundtrack choices were incredibly uninspiring this time out (save for a old-school Bobby Brown number), and the series has lost some of the nasty edge that characterized the dance numbers in the second and third movies (there was more krunking there, while All In — which takes place during a Las Vegas competition — goes more for the spectacle).

That said, it’s still a blast, as long as you take naps or read a book between the dance sequences. It’s not an amazing film, doesn’t necessarily need to be seen in the theater (and certainly doesn’t warrant the 3D surcharge) but for anyone who appreciates brilliant choreography and insane dance moves, All In — like the other four in the series — is ultimately very satisfying.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.