Step Up All In

Directed By: Trish Sie

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Misha Gabriel, Adam Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Mari Koda, Christopher Scott, and Luis Rosado

The life of a dancer is not easy.  I know this because the Step Up series has beaten this message over moviegoers' heads four times before.  That's why this weekend's Step Up All In is simply déjà vu.  We've seen it all before, again and again and again.  Strangely enough, this latest installment puts me in the mindset of the wizarding world of Harry Potter.  In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there's a scene toward the film's climax in which Headmaster Dumbledore drinks a painful potion in order to obtain a Horcrux.  The elder wizard is in so much agony that he shouts two words at Harry, "Kill me!"  That's exactly how I felt while watching Step Up All In.

After their success in Step Up Revolution, the Mob uses the $50,000 they've won to move to Los Angeles and try to make careers out of dancing.  Unfortunately, things don't go their way.  Broke and tired of a pointless cycle of auditions and rejections, everyone but Mob leader Sean Asa (Ryan Guzman) decides to go back to Miami.  Despite not having a crew, Sean still wants to make it in this industry.  When he sees a chance for a three-year contract in Las Vegas through Alexxa Brava's (Izabella Miko) The Vortex at Caesar’s Palace, he realizes he needs a new crew.  Sean turns to his old friend Moose (Adam Sevani) who in turn helps him to find that new crew.  The first person to whom they turn is Andie West (Briana Evigan).  From there, they get in touch with a number of dancers Moose has met over the years.  The new crew LMNTRIX is born.

I've finally figured out why I've loathed the Step Up movies so much.  These flicks walk and talk like bad action movies with a bit more romance.  The performances from the cast are always atrocious.  The forced, formulaic narrative always seems to be leading to the next big dance (action) sequence at the expense of good storytelling.  The film's direction is always generic and lacks a worthwhile creative vision.  All in all, that pretty much sums up just about every Step Up movie I've seen.  The fifth installment Step Up All In is no exception to this.  It's the movie hell where nightmares converge and I find bad actors I thought I had escaped long ago.  With cast members from Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, and Step Up Revolution, there's very little director Trish Sie could do to torture me more, with the exception of bringing back Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. 

Aside from my typical issues with Step Up movies, All In seems to add an extra layer of pointless fluff to the already sappy tale of the hardships these dancers face.  One way in which they accomplish this is by butchering remixed versions of songs like Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step" and Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise".  In doing so, they rob these tunes of their groove and offer up gooey dance routines instead.  I mention this to highlight the fact that a dance movie that's supposed to be edgy and all about different crews battling it out for supremacy has no shortage of needlessly cheesy moments that could only appeal to uninformed preteen girls.

The only reason I'm not giving Step Up All In a wasted rating is that a few of the dance sequences are actually quite enjoyable.  As a movie, however, All In pretty much sucks.  There's no attempt by Trish Sie to actually make a compelling feature film.  It's just about turning the dance into a spectacle that outweighs the negative aspects of otherwise poor filmmaking.  Dance moves simply aren’t enough, however.  That is why Step Up All In gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some electric lemonades with this one.