Step Up 3

tn_stepup3Okay, I know I’m not supposed to like a movie like this, I know I’m supposed to feel guilty if I get any pleasure from it, but I am a man with honor and I cannot tell a lie and all that shit so I gotta tell you that I fucking loved the cheesy dance competition movie STEP UP 3. Returning-from-part-2 director Jon M. Chu steps up (all puns are coincidental) the energy and inventiveness like he did before, but this time about tenfold. It’s stupid and hilarious and stylish and there’s more great dancing just in the deleted scenes than there was in all of part 1.

mp_stepup3Of course I saw STEP UP standard-3 as opposed to the STEP UP 3D that it was in theaters. And never before have I so regretted missing a 3D movie. I actually kinda wanted to at the time because I figured a dance movie in 3D would be cool and I heard it was, but since I hadn’t watched the other ones I didn’t realize how enjoyably goofy they are or how much it doesn’t matter that I didn’t see the other ones.

As you know, I prefer the unfashionable approach to 3D where you, like, take advantage of it being in 3D. This seems like it might’ve been the best example of that ever because it has bubbles, balloons, smoke, confetti. Dancers blow chalk dust at us, splash water across a flooded dance floor, pour Icees onto giant fans, throw light-up darts. The three “battle” sequences in particular look great on blu-ray and seem perfectly designed for 3D, with the camera staying on groups of dancers for long steady takes, slowly pulling in with the dancers constantly moving toward it, reaching and kicking and flipping toward the audience, often with one central dancer emphasized with layers of others behind them. A guy stands on his head and then drops toward the camera. A guy gets lifted and strikes a Superman pose with his fist (what would’ve been) sticking out of the screen. It has everything but the little fuzzy flying guy from CAPTAIN EO.

This time they got another new white couple, the girl (Sharni Vinson) arguably even hotter than the two previous ones and the guy (Rick Malambri) even more whitebread Melrose Place type handsome while being down with hip hop culture. His name is Luke, he’s the son of dancer parents who’s making a documentary about dancers, he speaks mostly in exposition, but invented the term “You’re b-fab – born from a boombox.” He leads a dance crew called The Pirates and a sort of dancer commune running out of a building he owns called The Vault – a dancer’s dream rehearsal space located above a popular dance club that is supposed to pay the rent… but of course it’s failing, and the snooty rich kid ex-Pirate Julian who leads the Samurai crew is threatening to foreclose on it, so the Pirates have to win the World Jam to save the place. Fuck “The Streets,” man. The Streets is for babies. World Jam is what you gotta win.

(Note: Julian was kicked out of the Pirates for throwing a battle. That’s gotta be more complicated than throwing a fight, so I wonder how that works. I would like to see that in flashback. What kind of stupid moves did he have to do to purposely lose? That could be a real funny scene.)

The Vault has several gimmicky rooms – one with an entire wall made of boomboxes, another that’s like a trophy room for limited edition Nikes, and one with padded curved walls and a hole in the floor full of nerf bricks so you can run up the walls and flip into the ground. Like an MTV Cribs version of the plastic ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese.

scarfaceroomThose are all cool rooms that I would encourage all rich people to build for themselves, but I wouldn’t blame you if you did an exact replica of the Scarface palm tree room instead. That’s probly what I would do. I’d just invite people over and see how long it takes before they say anything about it.

The girl is Natalie, she’s a mysterious out-of-towner who looks kinda like Elektra with a little Maggie Q. She ends up training with Luke at The Vault which she assumes will take place in one of those cool rooms. Instead they go on the roof and do a bunch of parkour! In a deleted scene they also had an emotional capoeria fight there. So obviously this is a good movie.

Part 3 abandons parts 1-2’s location, the Maryland School of the Arts, for NYU. This is a natural progression after part 2’s fixation on breakdancing, which was obviously born (from a boombox) in New York. The movies are connected by the character Moose (Adam Sevani). He was the geeky sidekick last time and now is a bigger character. He comes to NYU with his childhood best friend Camille (Alyson Stoner), who looked familiar but I didn’t realize it was because she was Channing Tatum’s character’s foster sister in part 1. I didn’t pick up on it until I read IMDb message board people complaining that the movie didn’t explain the connection. God damn it STEP UP 3, you’re too subtle. This means Moose and Tyler Gage probly even know each other, but it doesn’t ever come up. You just gotta notice it, or read it on IMDb. I like that.

This has by far the best and highest amount of dancing in the trilogy. Of course there are tons of dance rehearsal montages, but also several full-fledged numbers. A couple of them even have names that slam onto the screen, like “The Battle of Red Hook.”

still_stepup3That one almost has a Thunderdome type of atmosphere. The judge has an eyepatch and bangs an evil wizard type staff against the ground (and of course points it at us). Another battle is martial arts themed and looks like it could almost be the place where they had the Kumite in BLOODSPORT. There’s a Fred Astaire type number with Moose and his girl dancing down a block in one continuous shot, interacting with different people, a taxi, a swinging gate, steps, garbage can lids, a lady who gets mad and sprays them with a hose, some kids’ scooters that they steal, a tree, etc. There’s even a dance version of a “guy gets attacked in a public restroom” scene where Moose is taking a piss and a dance-ninja sneaks up and pulls open his jacket to reveal built-in speakers.

Another action movie parallel: the special move. Luke and Natalie got an impossible dance move that they’ve been working on that they’re not sure they’re ready for, you forget about it and then they bust it out at the crucial moment during the final battle.

It’s hard not to think about Michael Jackson sometimes while watching part 2 and especially part 3. Not just because CAPTAIN EO is the only other 3D dance movie I know of, but because the choreography of these big group numbers seems heavily influenced by his videos, because the character Moose often does Michael’s moves, because the kids at MSA dance to a song that sounds like the introduction to “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and because this one uses alot of whooshing sound effects for the body movements just like I always loved in Michael’s videos.

still_stepup3BI kept thinking Michael probly would have loved this. The climax even has the Pirates dancing in light-up suits, I would’ve figured he’d be into that even if I didn’t know he was planning something like that for the This Is It shows. Then I read this interview where I learned that The Battle of Red Hook was filmed the day after Michael died. They were all very depressed until Chu played some MJ and all the dancers and crew and everybody got so into dancing to it that that became a ritual before filming from that point on.

Too bad they couldn’t use those songs in the movie, though. I’m too old for this shit. I think this one does it better than part 2, there’s a chaotic sort of energy to these clankety mega-mixes they use. They got a little remixed Busta Rhymes in there and stuff. But for the most part this music needs to get off my lawn.

I like how this movie treats meticulously choreographed dance numbers as if they’re just something you bust out if you’re skilled enough. They’re probly supposed to be preparing off screen, but you just see them fucking around, then all the sudden they’re doing these long, complex pieces all in unison. And let’s say one of them accidentally breaks a pipe and causes the dance floor to fill up with water, don’t worry, they’ll know how to keep going.

The filmatists keep some of the corny cliche parts of the formula, like they have another scene where a character takes another character to the roof top where they go to be alone and overlook the city (“Where are you taking me?”). They got another friend who feels abandoned because her friend is spending all his time dancing behind her back (coulda done without that subplot). And another pop ballad montage of all the characters being sad and lonely in different places after a setback.

Apparently when they made this poster they thought it was gonna have the same leads as part 2 wearing the same outfits and going to Paris
Apparently when they made this poster they thought it was gonna have the same leads as part 2 wearing the same outfits and going to Paris

Sometimes they have the type of saccharine business you expect, but then put a joke after it. Like the scene where Camille tells Moose not to abandon his dream because he was born to dance, then some little girls walk by and yell “Give it up, you suck!” But that’s not even necessary because the corniness is part of what’s enjoyable in a movie like this. I’m not sure what the hell the non-corny version of a street dancing competition movie looks like.

I do wish they’d play up the MORTAL KOMBAT type feel slightly more by putting more emphasis on the absurd names and gimmicks of the different dancers. At the beginning they set up a feared Samurai who wears all black and is called “Kid Darkness,” but then they don’t really come back to him that much. Most of the other bad guys (and some of the good guys) you don’t really catch the names of. Like there’s an amazing robot dude on the Pirates, he’s gotta have a cool name but I don’t know what it is. Maybe they mentioned it. There’s alot of them to keep track of. There’s so many of them but they decide they still need more dancers so then there’s a FAST FIVE type of moment where they bring back the super-team from part 2 and give them an Arsenio Hall Show entrance standing posed behind a rising garage door.

"We [also] wanted to make fun of the genre, but at the same time embrace it and how awesome the dance is. I got to know our audience from "Step Up 2" and they wanted that as well. They love to make fun of the movies. They love to be in on the joke of the movie, but also at the same time, they love the commitment -- that it just goes for it and doesn't apologize. That's what we get excited about." --Director Jon M. Chu

One thing I noticed about these movies that’s kinda funny: poor sportsmanship. The opposing crews are always really bitter and angry toward each other. When one of them loses either they look really outraged or you don’t see their reactions. I don’t think there’s ever a BEST OF THE BEST type of moment where after it’s all over they smile or congratulate each other. That’s weird because it seems like that would fit the movie’s view of dancers being a community.

This is kinda ridiculous to get into but after seeing STEP UPs 2 & 3 I’m now really fuckin excited for GI JOE 2. I loved how ridiculous the first one was, and now they seem to be upping the ante with this too-good-to-be-true cast (The Rock, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson, the RZA, Walton Goggins plus returning Lee Byung-hun, Ray Park and Arnold Vosloo). I don’t know if STEP UP franchise originator/GI JOE team leader Channing Tatum was the one that recruited Jon Chu, but whoever did it knew what they were doing. With his knack for fun gimmicks, shameless straight-faced absurdity, beautiful digital cinematography and crisply staged movement of the human body that he shows in this movie I feel pretty confident he can come up with a better and/or crazier movie than Stephen Sommers did.

Unfortunately for civilization Chu doing GI JOE means somebody else has to do STEP UP 4. It might be one of his acolytes though ’cause it’s some guy who directed episodes of Chu’s web-series LXD: THE LEGION OF EXTRAORDINARY DANCERS. It’s probly too late but I got an idea they could’ve used for part 4.

Of course in the search for true greatness you’re gonna want to continue STEP UP 2 THE STREETS’s groundbreaking use of dual-purpose subtitling. That’s why I think it should be called STEP UP 4 FREEDOM. And it should be a ROCKY IV type situation where the Pirates have to battle a North Korean dance crew. You would think with all the repression over there there wouldn’t be very good North Korean breakdancers, but we would learn how Kim Jong Il had South Korean b-boys kidnapped, brainwashed and genetically enhanced to become super-dancers. And they would incorporate elements of gymnastics and ribbon dancing into their routines.

I mean I don’t want to give away the whole thing and also it is possible that that’s all I got, but please consider this idea Hollywood. I will give you my paypal. thanks


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 12:06 am and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

43 Responses to “Step Up 3”

  1. He likes it?


    My most watched movie from 2010. I think my friend said it best: STEP UP 3D has the most talented cast in the history of 3-D film. Like Chaplin’s CITY LIGHTS, this film makes me appreciate my sense of sight.

  2. Thanks for the reviews, Vern. This is flat-out of one of the best trilogies made, and deserves to be in the conversation when ever people talk about trilogies. The sheer ridiculousness and embracing of cliche in this film is at a level of genius, and it’s good to read that quote to know that the filmmatists knew what they were doing.
    Can’t wait for Step Up 4 Freedom. Though I wonder if there’s a conflict of interest when Hollywood does make one of your ideas reality, will you be able to give it a fair and unbiased review?

  3. With STEP UP 3D (awesome outtakes & extras included), LXD, some YouTube vids, and a Charlotte Bobcats promo video, I’m a tad concerned Madd Chadd Smith might be just about out of robot moves. I don’t know what else he can develop with his style, but I’m sure he’ll surprise me.

    But whatever, nothing short of severe brain damage can erase the beautiful memory of when the music turned industrial-robo-bounce and he took over the dusty dance floor with this (which is already a great scene even without Madd Chadd): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt0VjklKYeY which if you can’t see in 3D on the big screen is a damn shame. That scene is everything right with the world of kinetic visual art, and it sounds great too. I seriously got the full body tingles when I saw that. Like, I was smiling like a pothead that just discovered a closet full of Maui-Wowee.

    And Madd Chadd kills it again at the end of the movie side-by-side with Moose. I showed this movie to my parents, and my mom got hooked in by the long single take duet, saying, “Gene Kelly would be proud.” Then she literally gasped & went “Woo!” involuntarily when she saw Madd Chadd & Moose drop their robo-heads. And she couldn’t get over how cool the climactic light-up uniforms were. My dad actually stayed awake for an entire movie for the first time since 1997.

    I haven’t seen all the LXD episodes yet, but my favorite so far by far is Madd Chadd’s sad story: http://www.hulu.com/watch/158343/the-lxd-robot-lovestory
    The LXD stuff is all excellent cinematism, though it can get a little grating if you try to sit & watch it all at once. Good for Jon Chu that he found a way to keep showcasing his vision & so many incredible athlete-artists.

  4. I was so Excited when Chu’s name was thrown into the mix for GI Joe 2 The Streets. Unfortunately, they decided against doing it in 3D, which is really dumb, since they have the man who is clearly the best 3D filmmaker in the world directing it.

    You forgot the best part, however. The villain of the movie got kicked out of the dance crew for throwing a match because he was deeply in debt. But now, he’s suddenly a rich kid again and wants to buy out the club from under our heroes. There is no effort made to explain how or why he went from throwing dance competitions for what I assume must have been 30 silver coins to having enough money to buy large New York City real estate.

    Also, the crew really doesn’t seem to think that practically about other ways to save the dance studio. I mean, they don’t bother to try teaching dance classes, or renting the place out for Bar Mitzvahs, or maybe even selling some of their, literally, thousands of pairs of designer shoes, each of which are worth $300-500. Nope. lets just pin ALL of our hopes on this winner-takes-all tournament.

    Personally, I think there should be a plot twist in Step Up 4 Freedom/Ste(U)p [you know, becuase they like to shorten the name for part 4s these days] where it turns out that the villain of this movie and the owner of the dance studio were actually working together to better motivate their respective dance crews and that they were actually involved in collusion. Basically, I want to see a movie about vertical integration and anti-trust set in the world of absurd underground dance competitions.

  5. No, Tawdry, the best part is that college freshman Moose is supposed to take a major exam at 8 p.m., a ridiculous twist that would compel me to tell the professor to go fuck himself even if it didn’t clash with an important dance contest. Also, he steals a guy’s hat. Also, breakdancing 7 year olds (“shorties”) annihilate The Samurai.

    Am I being too analytically generous when I point out that the ticker (near Times Square, iIrc) in the background of the gorgeous ‘driving through NYC’ scene flashes “Michael Vick reinstated to NFL”? Hmm, they could have had damn near anything on that ticker, and they managed to edit in a blurb about the most athletic, game-changing, unconventional football player getting a 2nd chance to blow up the league (which he didn’t do until a few weeks after the movie’s release). It could mean a lot of things. I like it.

  6. well I’ll be damned, you’re telling me that the Step Up movies are actually good? what a twist

    I think this is actually a valuable lesson about all the negativity on the internet and how we might be writing off movies that are actually good

  7. …Wow.

    Now I feel as though I’ve missed the revolution or something; because I think it’s fair to say I had no idea any movies called “Step Up” existed before reading these last three reviews. Never heard of them, never heard their names to my recollection.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this because hip-hop and me go together like a deep-sea angler fish and outer space; but I’m gonna have to check these ones out. What the FUCK have you done to me Vern?

  8. #3 is the unfuckwithable one of the trilogy. Only thing I’d change is there should have been more of a role for that cute chick with red-pink hair.

    You don’t need to see them in order, and one’s mileage will definitely vary on the first 2. So, if you don’t want to commit so much time to the series, the bestest parts of the first 2 are a great gateway to some sublime YouTube surfing.

  9. Fellas, I really want to hop on the love train for this one but, see, I got this problem. There is little in life, with the possible exception of institutionalized injustice, inescapable humidity, and getting eaten by a shark, that I hate more then bad hip-hop. It fills me with a sense of loathing and unease, instantly transforming me from a fun-loving dude into a joyless crank. I imagine it’s how aging Gen X’ers felt the first time they heard Green Day. I know Vern shares my affliction and managed to get over it, but I don’t know if I’m that strong.

    I am all for there being as much breakdancing as possible in G.I. JOE 2 THE STREETS, though.

  10. Watching those clips on YouTube, it’s really apparent how much some of you lost out by not seeing this movie in 3D! Looked AMAZING in that format.

    Fun fact: Step Up 3D did much better business overseas. Probably because, in many territories, it went by the title SEXY DANCE 3D.

  11. Mr Majestyk, can’t you just turn off the sound during the dance scenes? I watched some clips of it on YouTube that way. Sure, the dance moves werent’ synchronized to the music, but they still looked good.

  12. Ok, i’ve been secretly wanting to watch these movies for a while now but I never got around to it. They’ve been daring me to watch them since the first one came out. Every time i would see a trailer, hear a song from the soundtrack, or see a still photo from of the movies, it was a siren call to my senses. Now that Vern, and pretty much everyone here, endorses these things i simply have no choice. This is the straw that broke the Step Up virgin camel’s back.

    So I’ll be watching the blu rays this weekend (if i’m gonna watch these fucking things, i’m watching them in hi def) and i’m hoping for the best and prepared for the worst. I’m skipping the first one since it appears that I don’t have to watch these things in order and because it doesn’t sound as ridiculous as the other 2. If i enjoy 2 and 3 I’ll check out the first 1 and treat it like a prequel. So even though these have been somewhat hyped around here, my expectations are still pretty low.

    On a side note, my mom (who’s 65) loves the first Step Up. If thats not some kind of sign that i’m gonna enjoy these films then i don’t know what is.

  13. I could, CJ, but I’m not gonna do that. The filmmakers intended these movies to be accompanied by a soundtrack of terrible, awful music that makes baby pandas cry and angels drop out of the sky like frozen turds from a passing 747. If I can’t respect their wishes then I’m afraid I am not fit to step up.

    I think I’ll live.

  14. You’d also miss out on the awesome kung-fu/michael jackson sound effects with the dancing.

    I will defend “Shawty Got Low” as a really fun song that I danced to a lot during my freshman year of college, and I was kinda amused by Flo-Rida’s “Right Round” (featuring the first appearance of Ke$ha, who once cleverly rejected me at a party before she got famous). Hell, I’m a HUGE fan of Dr. Luke and know every line to Katy Perry’s last record, (sounds like dancehall remixes of Meat Loaf to me), but a lot of mainstream hip-hop club bangers are pretty friggin terrible. At the same time, you make fun of Flo-Rida’s lyrics but accept James Brown? Correct me if I’m wrong, but Brown’s most famous lyrics are pretty submental too. Just saying.

    But the real problem is that this film was released by Disney. Disney isn’t going to allow any dark, kinky, or edgy hip-hop music in their film. Sure, there are sexual gyrations and the chick in part 2 has pretty much the best hip to waist ratio I have ever seen, but the films are ultimately pretty squeaky clean. Brother Ali wouldn’t really in, you know?

  15. Yeah, but James could sing his fuckin’ balls off. His lyrics were not only often improvised, but if you listen closely, he’s often using them to conduct the band, in effect composing the music while he’s recording it. That would be like Clint giving direction to his co-stars without breaking character and then keeping it in the movie.

    Flo-Rida, on the other hand, is just sort of chanting some rhythmic idiocy over music he got emailed to him by some guy who made it on his laptop.

  16. I will go even further in defense of Step Up 3D. Step Up 3D is simply the the most awesome display of physical prowess by Caucasians ever put on screen. Maybe the Thais or one Jackie Chan movie could be more impressive. That alone should just exist.

    As for the “rent is due/missing a test” plot, to me that’s the same as Steven Seagal’s family getting killed, Van Damme’s brother getting paralyzed or John McClane ending up in a location full of terrorists. What else WOULD happen to a bunch of dancers in a movie? The idea that you’d have to apologize for that makes me kinda sad.

    And yes, Vern, all that stuff did happen in 3D. I can’t even see 3D but I could tell it was extending from the plane of the screen.

    I never cared for Step Up 1 so I guess I’ll have to go check Vern’s review of that too.

  17. Flo-Rida, is terrible, and an example of everything that is wrong with hip hop right now. He is a perfect example of what I just got done rambling about on the STEP IT UP 2 thread. On the other hand James Brown is one of the most talented musicians ever, he was the hardest working man in show business, and probably the most sampled artist in the history of Hip hop. Also, ” I don’t know Karate, but I know crazy” is one of the greatest lyrics of all time. Actually I find it kind of insulting you would compare the god father of soul to a clown like Flo-Rida.

  18. To Freds point about plot structure and devises I have felt for years that action films specifically martial arts films often share the same structure and mechanics as dance movies. You could take the plot of the KARATE KID and easily subtract the martial arts elements and replace them with dancing. You have an underdog that is an outsider, maybe they come from another culture or class, but they find their voice in dancing our martial arts. They then build to a big confrontation or performance in the finale where the underdog proves him or herself and wins acceptance. That plot description could work for ROCKY or FOOTLOOSE among hundreds of other films.

  19. Exactly, Charles, well said, better than me. Dance movies should be action movies. Look how Gene Kelly influenced Jackie Chan. Stomp the Yard is pretty great too.

  20. You guys ever see SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS? I watched it under duress recently and was struck by a few things. 1. I never thought I could sing anything except rockabilly, but I can sing “Bless Yore Beautiful Hide” like Howard Keel. Me and my manly pipes were clearly born several decades too late into a world of reedy weiners with voices like broken clarinets; 2. Holy shit, that fight scene in the barn is amazing! It’s staged like a big dance number, only they’re throwing haymakers and kicking each other through windows. I can totally see little Jackie Chan watching that scene and feeling his entire future click into place; and 3. That plot is kinda rapey, don’t you think?

  21. Obviously James Brown is vastly superior. My point was just that complaining about the lyrics in dance music is like sprinting about polar bears.

  22. It never occurred to me during STEP UP 3D that they were playing hip hop. Sounds like top 40 style dance & electro music to me.

    Not my stilo, generally, but most of it sounded great to me, especially the water battle track.

    But then, I don’t listen to any FM radio but NPR, so maybe the shitty hip hop stations’ playlist is similar to what people are saying this STEP UP music is.

  23. The stuff in Step Up’s is pretty tame. But top 40 radio is basically all hip-hop infused and electro. For example, Katy Perry’s song “E.T.” (which is about fucking a black dude for the first time, btw), was originally created as a beat for the ThreeSixMafia.

  24. ““E.T.” (which is about fucking a black dude for the first time, btw)”


  25. Listen to the song, it’s totally about miscegenation.

  26. MAJESTYK: I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I love 7B47B. That barn-raising fight is great and the plot is bananas. They basically kidnap a bunch of girls and hold them captive for several months until they succumb to Stockholm syndrome.

  27. The last hip hop album I bothered getting familiar with is that Madvillain album. That’s considered hip hop, right? As opposed to almost every song played on the radio that is merely mired in a hip hop aesthetic? I might be too old to make the distinction.

    Also, I don’t know who Flo Rida is – is he related to the Low Rider? – but I somewhat doubt he’ll come up with a phrase that is as explosive in our current climate as “Say it loud I’m Black and I’m proud” was in 1968 or even as controversial as “Fuck tha police” was in 1988. But more power to him if he can.

  28. I think my favourite bit of “not giving a shit if it makes sense” in the film is when Moose gets picked up in the middle of the day, right after his first big dance in the park, then the next scene is them cruising around at night, with all those pretty lights. They must’ve been driving around for hours waiting for the sun to set, or maybe they were trying to shake Kid Darkness, in case he was following them. Kid Darkness is all that and a bit more.

  29. So a pal of mine read my earlier comment about not knowing much about recent hip hop records and she gave me some Shabazz Palaces to listen to. Phenomenal stuff.

  30. I just watched it and agree with everything here. I had a huge smile on my face for at least 2/3 of the movie and when the guy in the bathroom revealed the speakers in his jacket, I knew that I would love it!

  31. I watched this wife my wife the other night and it is lovably ridiculous fun. I just wish I had seen it in 3D.

  32. Sorry, “with my wife”.

  33. Well, gentlemen, in fulfilling my half of The Great Nerdery Swap Accord of 2011 that me and Mouth got going, I sucked up my aversion to the music made for and by horny lasers that the kids are listening to these days and gave this one a chance. For the first half hour or so, I thought I was just gonna have to be polite about it. It was cute and all, and I could see how people could enjoy the ridiculous shit like dance crews who thought they were kung fu dojos and a guy getting ambushed by a dance battle in the bathroom where a guy has a tearaway jacket with a boombox sewn into it. But it was just an intellectual appreciation, not actual enjoyment. It wasn’t until the drugs kicked in they played a song I liked (that Chromeo remix in the first training montage) that I was able to sink into the movie and have fun with it. By the end, I was smiling and having a good ol’ time watching these attractively beige individuals perform no-contact kung fu in ever more complicated configurations. I was particularly impressed by the robot guy. I’m not convinced that no CGI was used to make him look like he was stop-motion like ED-209. That is not the robot I generally emulate when I’m doing the robot, which is why my house, the Mighty Mighty Majestykles, was eliminated in the first round of last year’s World Jam.

    Couple of funny things I noticed:

    1. I’m pretty sure I once smoked a joint in that alley where Hunky McWhiterson parked his awesome car that you never see again. They definitely do NOT let you park cars there.

    2. I liked how their lair was the kind of thing I would have drawn on white construction paper when I was nine and designing a base for my G.I. Joes. “And this will be the video game room, right in between the flamethrower room and the room with no gravity…”

    3. It’s awesome that Midriffy McRichgirl was taking the train from New York to Los Angeles and that they announced it as such, as if there’s one train that will take you all the way across the country without a transfer. I was disappointed that they went out of their way to stage this scene in Grand Central on such flimsy pretenses and then didn’t even dance there. That would have been the perfect opportunity for there to be a cameo of me shouldering right through them without making eye contact and cursing their mothers under my breath.

    4. I was pissed that that dude didn’t get his hat back. Dance should not be used for evil.

    So congratulations, guys. I liked this highly stupid movie. I will now recommence my regularly scheduled curmudgeonry.

  34. If Santa Claus were a movie, he’d be STEP UP 3.

  35. I don’t know, Mouth. I’ve seen SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE and it is no STEP UP 3.

  36. That was the moviefied Santa Claus intended for naughty children. Now that you’ve proven yourself nice, you’ve been upgraded to the list of those worthy of Kris Kringle’s gift-bearing endeavors.

    Stop teasing your little sister so much and maybe Santa’s next movie appearance for you will be in 3 dimensions.

  37. So I’m at my mom’s house for Thanksgiving, and guess what was on cable? And guess what I watched all the way to the end less than a week and a half after watching it for the first time?

    I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I blame Mouth.

  38. I never aspired to be a cardiac surgeon, but I’ll gladly take credit for the difficult work of growing the hearts of Grinches everywhere.

    Such is the the mission of the preachers of the Gospel of Chu, and of His right hand man, His agent of Robotic Funk, Madd Chad.

  39. Vern, with regards to good Dance movies. I like to recommend HIGH STRUNG (2016). Just saw it today and while the plot is totally by the numbers. The chemistry of the two leads is fantastic and the dance scenes are on par with the Step Up films.

  40. Ok, you guys are right – this movie is absolutely incredible – easily an improvement over the already-excellent Part 2, easily the best 3D Blu Ray besides Avatar, easily better than any Marvel movie or Fast and Furious movie. It’s a giddy, joyous celebration of not just music and dance, but vision and sound. I’ve heard some people who like the movie still proclaim it as being “dumb”, but I can’t disagree more. There’s an almost-genius construction to the plot – every single scene is something you’ve seen before in another movie, but they lovingly remix and repurpose the cliches into something fresh and new.

    The jokes are funny, the leads have chemistry, the acting is surprisingly strong. The music is better than in parts 1 and 2. There’s legit, thoughtful world-building that actually reminded me alot of the alternate reality NYC in John Wick 2. There’s better character development than in most big studio films these days. This is a movie that *SPOILER* ends with two characters leaving the other characters and sailing off into the sunset as if they’re two big actors leaving a TV show during the season finale, and I actually got misty-eyed even though I’ve never seen these characters before.

    But the real star of the show – the 3D sequences, are mind-blowingly incredible. They start out excellent and just build and build and build – they keep topping each other to the point of near-exhaustion. This movie has no interest in saving anything for a future sequel, they put it all out there and your 3D TV will never get a better workout. (The 3D sequence during the closing credits is more eye-popping than anything on most discs). I can’t say for sure that I would have had such a strong reaction to this movie if I saw it in 2D, but I will say in its 3D form this is already on my list of Top 10 movies of all time.

  41. I have a real problem with these STEP UP movies. There is no way in Hell the Pirates should have won the Battle of Red Hook. They were completely outdanced and then came back with a shitty Robot routine (I’m sure we can all agree that the Robot is the HARD TARGET of dances).

    Anyway, I’m glad I never saw any of these before so that I could watch the whole series over one week even if that means I missed seeing them in 3D. This is clearly the best one but I think the best overall dance sequence is the ending of STEP UP 4. Although the Fred Astaire type dance is pretty incredible. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed these movies…my wife is absolutely disgusted with me.

  42. I 100% agree that the Robot seen in STEP UP 3 is definitely, without question, the HARD TARGET of dances.

  43. The robot is clearly the most inferior style of dance, but that robot guy did kind of grow on me eventually. When he showed up in part 4 I rolled my eyes like “Is this guys just going to show up in every movie and do the same shitty robot dance?” but then in part 5 he is actually in a lot of scenes and just acts like a robot in regular situations and it’s too ridiculous to not enjoy it. Much like all of STEP UP.

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