For a nation besotted with dance reality shows, Step Up 3 ought to be the ideal popcorn-popper. It has a simple plot, one that the more no-nonsense among us might find a little silly, but one that stays in the shadow of everything else that happens on screen.
Step Up is an out-and-out dance flick, soaked in its own drunken celebration of rhythm and beats and fluidity of motion. It's fun if you're a fan of choreography, but even if you're not, it's an experience that deserves to be called fascinating, at the very least.
The plot, like we said, is basic. Luke (Rick Malambri) leads a dance crew that wants to win the World Jam dance contest. He spots incredible talent in the college student Moose (Adam Sevani), when the kid gets involved in a dance combat of sorts on the street. He takes him in, and Moose's passion for dance touches new highs, even as eventually he finds it tough to juggle between college and his extra-curricular activities.
Luke also pulls in Natalie (Sharni Vinson), a dancer whose skill, he hopes, will complete the crew's single-minded ambition.
While the dancers practice in Luke's vast grunge-type hideout that resembles a factory warehouse, living out their respective life-dreams, Luke is driven by his passion to win the said competition, as well as to pay back the mortgage on the dance-pad.
As you'd expect, Fate dumps Luke and gang for a while, following which it is sunshine and brightness all over again. Luke has to deal with sneaky tactics from a rival crew, as well as his personal dreams. Meanwhile, Moose has to deal with a neglected best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner), who is in love with him.
Step Up is a feel-good flick with harmless teen cuteness thrown in for good measure. The story follows a formula, but you're not inclined to mind much. That is because it is the choreography that is the winner all the way in Step Up 3D.
Hip-hop and freestyle floods the proceedings, with some of the moves seeming believable only if you were told they're made of computer graphics. There's an especially breathtaking song towards the end that involves a few kids - as though the rubber-like flexibility of the grown-ups throughout the movie weren't stunning enough. It all makes you wish someone makes a theme like this work in an Indian setting, given how much more inclusive the dance forms enjoyed here are.
Amid all the festivity, you're not given a chance to notice the performances. However, everyone's pretty good, especially Rick Malambri as the brooding and anxious Luke, and Adam Sevani whose enthusiasm is infectious. Some standard-issue character props exist, and most characters are pretty uni-dimensional anyway.
The 3D fascinates you at the start of the flick, and you gradually get oriented to the effect, but you keep getting reminded of the technology during the dance sequences.
We'd recommend this if even if dance mildly intrigues you, or if you're in the mood for some bubblegummy cinema.