"Every Step Has Led To This" reads the tagline to the latest film in the Step Up franchise, Step Up All In. In a way, that remark is correct. The writers of the fifth film have incorporated characters from the last three films, blending them altogether in yet another mediocre plot line tied in with some breathtaking dance moves. Step Up All In redeems the franchise after the previous one, but still is not as great as the films that came before it.
It was interesting to see who the writers chose to bring back for this movie. Instead of taking a single pair from one of the other films, they pulled the lead actress from Step Up To The Streets (#2) and the lead actor from Step Up Revolution (#4). They then make up silly reasons for them to no longer be with the person they instantaneously fell for in their own movie and force them into having a romantic connection in this one. Luckily their lack of acting skills, along with many of the other big roles, are made up for by the incredibly way their bodies move. Unfortunately, the better dancers do not have the bigger parts in the film. Most of the scenes with big dance solos are given to the minor characters who stick to the dancing. Fan favorites like Twitch, Vladd, The Santiago Twins, and Jenny Kido are back for the latest installment, along with several new faces in the crew.
Honestly, the movie is saved by the major focus on the relationship of Moose and Camille, who were also the subplot in Step Up 3D. Not only does their chemistry seem palpable, but their acting skills are good enough where they are 100% believable in their dialogue. While their lives seem much steadier than normal young adults typically have (Moose is a big-time engineer fresh out of attending NYU), they are the characters you truly take an interest in. It also helps that Moose, who is the leader of both the big dance routines, is an incredibly talented dancer and draws your attention the second his body starts moving.
Besides the plot being average (which really all of the Step Up plots are) and the acting being only so-so, the big problem with this movie is the real lack of dancing. While there is definitely more dancing than in Revolution, there are not enough choreographed group dances. There is a lot of "freestyle" dances in the beginning portion of the film, but not any moves that really make you sit on the edge of your seat. Only three big dances appear in the entire run of the movie, and two are right at the very end. They are creative and are the only portions of dance that really stand out in the film.
Step Up All In is one of the better movies in this franchise, but certainly is not a great movie. A lot of the dancers are not great at being believable characters, although there is no doubt they are talented once they start to truly show their craft. There needed to be more dancing and less plot, with perhaps more of Moose and Camille, and less of the forced story with two random old characters.