Step Up 5: All In, 2014
Directed by Trish Sie
Starring Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Stephen Boss, Stephen Stevo Jones, David Shreibman, Mari Koda, Christopher Scott, Luis Rosado and Chadd Smith
All-stars from the previous Step Up installments come together in glittering Las Vegas, battling for a victory that could define their dreams and their careers.
The fifth entry into the Step Up series doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but then it doesn’t feel like it was trying to. Step Up 5: All In is just another entry into the popular dance franchise with sub-par acting, impressive choreography and a whole load of nothing else.
The Mob are on hard times. They did have “the NIKE advert”, but since then it has just been rejection after rejection from various auditions. It gets so bad that the whole crew head back to Miami, leaving Sean to still keep his LA dreams of being a professional dancer alive. He discovers a reality TV show competition called The Vortex which gives the winners a three-year Las Vegas show and so Sean puts together a new crew, filled with familiar faces from previous Step Up movies, and heads out to Sin City where they will face a rival crew, as well as The Mob.
It’s important in a review of a movie like Step Up 5: All In to get the negativity out of the way as a lot of criticisms are the same as previous movies and it all doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The actors in the movie aren’t really “acting” per say as much as they are just reading the lines written down a script in the order they’re written. Ryan Guzman in particular is horrendous as he delivers no inflection or emotion in his dialogue and he may as well just be reading off cue cards. Everyone else is either middling or terrible, but none are on the same level of bad as Guzman. The true star of the movie is Chadd Smith who plays robot dancer Vladd. He has no dialogue and moves like a robot the entire time, but yet he feels less robotic than everyone else in the cast.
Step Up 5: All In is odd in that it starts plot threads but then never fully realises them. They start some interactions between Moose and his boss that feels like it will lead to a punchline, but it never materialises into anything. More bizarrely they start a thread of spoofing the falseness of reality TV shows, but this is dropped quickly when the crew move to an area where the cameras can’t find them. The idea of the show’s falsehood does come into play during the finale, but the two threads don’t feel connected. As such, the plot for Step Up 5: All In is beyond basic and not all that engaging. The two leads are more wooden than an IKEA warehouse, the simplistic story can be telegraphed from the get go and it’s hard to sympathise with Sean as he acts like a dick for the majority of the movie.
But this is a movie series that isn’t about good acting or well-written stories, this is a franchise that is based around impressive dance sequences. And in that sense, Step Up 5: All In is a roaring success. Suspension of disbelief is required to fully enjoy the dances as even the most impromptu routine feels staged and rehearsed, but the choreography, technique and performance is superb. Their initial video to enter the Vortex is wonderful and very creative and it’s fitting that the movie is set in Las Vegas as each dance has that big Vegas show feel, particularly the final two routines. They probably could have done with less dance sequences as there are far too many and as as such, they quickly lose their appeal with some sequences being incredibly forgettable. In fact, if you took the dancing out of the movie, it would be about 20 minutes long. But with acting this bad on display, it’s probably for the best they distract you with flashy visuals.
To answer the question, “is Step Up 5: All In a good movie”, the answer would be a resounding “no”. It’s written and acted badly and its sole reason for existing wears thin when you’ve seen you twentieth dance routine. With that said, there is a level of fun involved and fans of the franchise will certainly enjoy seeing familiar faces up on screen again. If you like watching dancers pushing thirty but dressing like their sixteen, reading lines of dialogue unconvincingly inbetween some flashy dancing, then you’ll probably love Step Up 5: All In. But if you’ve not been a fan, this is not the movie to change your mind.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.