The “Step Up” franchise is a lot like the “Fast and the Furious” franchise. The similarities could be covered in depth (the originality of the first film, the lack of returning cast in part 2, the third film being a low-point, the themes of family and loyalty, etc.), but both franchises have continued to turn out stories for a loyal fanbase. The most recent addition to this litany of comparisons is making the fifth film in the franchise an all-star affair. So sets the stage for “Step Up: All In.”
Continuing the storyline of the Mob, the dance crew from “Step Up: Revolution,” Sean (Ryan Guzman) and the others are having trouble getting hired as dancers. The success has come and gone, and the constant stream of rejection is putting stress on them to deliver. Like all dreams of making it big, the reality of responsibility and bills takes its toll. Without money or hope, the Mob return to Miami to regroup. But Sean is still keen on making dance a career; he stays behind looking for something that might sustain him. Rather by chance, he learns of a contest called the Vortex, where the winning dance crew gets a residency in Las Vegas. With the help of Moose, they recruit a group of new and returning characters to secure a living as professional dancers.
The “Step Up” films are ones that don’t focus heavily on story. They serve as little more than conduits to deliver slick and elaborate dance choreography. But deeper than that each film is about hard work, family, and the positive nature of dance. On the fifth go-around, these themes are ever present. Bringing fan favorites from the previous films, “Step Up: All In” takes its own advice. It pours a convincing, yet thin, story together that would bring about a wide variety of dance scenes. The all-star element injects increased marketing by relying on the audience wanting to see more of their favorite characters.
Once again, the 3D element gives a larger spectacle than a simple home viewing. Though it will not likely win over a new bevy of fans, it once again aims for fun visuals and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If the fourth entry is the bar for success, “Step Up: All In” almost meets it. The film is a total blast to watch, even if the quality of the screenwriting isn't there. 2.5 out of 5 stars
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