Much like The Fast & The Furious franchise, this dance series seems to drift further away from the original concept and players – particularly Channing Tatum, the breakout star of the first movie — but it must be said that director Jon Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets) and his visual-effects team found ways to make expert use of the 3-D technology to grant depth to the dancers’ movements (special effects in their own rights) and the music (particularly the bass-heavy beats).
Rather than focusing on Moose (Adam Sevani), the aspiring young holdout from the Baltimore-based Step Up 2 as he ventures to college in New York and battles against his parents’ desires for him to give up dance and become an engineer, this Step introduces a new Tatum-lite protagonist in Luke (Rick Malambri), the de facto head of an underground dance dorm populated by a largely anonymous crew of international place holders. Luke recruits Moose, but Moose and his drama play out like a middling second movement to Luke’s leading-man looks and pedestrian dance moves.
Fortunately, Chu turns up kinetic energy in the dance sequences to make up for the clumsy, two-left-feet approach to storytelling. Step Up 3-D knows how to bust a move, but when its pauses to catch its breath, the movie veers close to becoming a big bust. Grade: C-
Opens Aug. 6. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.