Directed by: John Chu
Written by:Toni Ann Johnson, Karen Barna
Starring: Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Adam G. Sevani, Cassie Ventura, Will Kemp, Channing Tatum
Released: March 20, 2008
Grade: B-

If you’re a fan of street dancing, you’ll probably get a kick out of Step Up 2 The Streets.  You’ll see some well choreographed dance sequences performed by a young, fresh cast.  The soundtrack isn’t too bad either.

This film is the sequel to Step Up (released in 2006) which starred Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and Australian Rachel Griffiths.  Tatum makes a brief cameo at the start of the film but aside from his appearance, this is a different story with different people.  I don’t think this is as good as the original (which I gave a B grading) but it’s still worth a look.

The story is set in Maryland and focuses on a girl named Andie West (Evigan).  She’s part of a crew called the “410” who roam the city and cause trouble with their illegal street dancing.  One of the latest stunts, where they disrupted a bunch of commuters on a city train, made the news.  Andie’s mother died of cancer many years ago and her foster-mum thinks she’s fallen in with the wrong crowd.  She wants to send her to live with her aunt in Texas.

This doesn’t go down well with Andie who pleads for one more chance.  With the help of a new friend named Chase (Hoffman), she gets herself enrolled in the dance program at the Maryland School of Arts.  It’s time to knuckle down and fly right.

There’s an interesting mix of people at the school and Andie quickly makes new friends.  They share her love for street dancing and aren’t exactly thrilled with the old-style dance lessons and programs which are set by the school.  They start up their own street dancing club and start practicing in secret.  Their goal is to compete at a huge underground dance competition known as “The Streets” and prove just how good they are.

As I’ve already alluded to, the dance scenes are the best part of Step Up 2 The Streets.  The best part is probably the finale where the crew showcase their talent in pouring rain at The Streets competition.  It looks great and credit goes to 28-year-old director Jon Chu.

If you’re seeing this movie for its storyline however, don’t get your hopes up.   It doesn’t make much sense when you break it down.  I can’t go into a lot of detail for fear of ruining the film for those who haven’t seen it.  All I’ll say is that transformation of certain characters (such as the big-name dance school teacher) was pretty hard to believe.

Both Step Up and Step Up 2 The Streets have made over $50m at in the United States.  There’s a strong market for this new wave of “dance movies” and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more in the near future.