Oh you darn sequel market, what am I going to do with you? You like to spawn these relentless sequels to films that only did so-so in theaters and eventually make a fair sum on DVD, thus warranting some kind of follow-up even though no one asked for it. Unlike a superhero movie that asks for it, Step Up didn’t exactly beg to be sequalized, but nevertheless the fine folks at Touchstone found it necessary to spit another one out, this time in the form of Step Up 2 The Streets. I’ll give it points for working the sequel number into the title, but I refuse to give up anything else.
When rebellious street dancer Andie lands at the elite Maryland School of the Arts, she finds herself fighting to fit in while also trying to hold onto her old life. When she joins forces with the schools hottest dancer, Chase, to form a crew of classmate outcasts to compete in Baltimore s underground dance battle The Streets, she ultimately finds a way to live her dream while building a bridge between her two separate worlds.
When Andie (Briana Evigan) starts to experience issues with school, it’s only a matter of time before she ends up getting herself into more trouble than she can handle. Eventually enrolling into a school for those gifted with the art of dance, Andie is disowned from her own gang of street dancers when they learn that she’s in the school for “ballet.” Refusing to give up street dancing, Andie forms her own gang inside of the school and teams up with Chase (Robert Hoffman), a fellow dancer who is aching to get out onto the streets to show the world his moves.
My brain hurt writing that description, as I had to attempt to recall as much plot from the film as I could, as the description of this film on the DVD packaging tells you absolutely nothing about the film itself. The characters are briefly mentioned and the majority of the text is devoted to touting how much more hardcore it is than the original Step Up (“Even more sensational”, in case you were wondering). I may have watched this film in its entirety, but it doesn’t mean I absorbed a lot of it; most of it seemed to go on for too long and then by the time the big dance off happened I began to wonder how many hairs I had left on my head after pulling them out for nearly 100 minutes that the film ran.
I can’t completely trash the film as the choreography was impressive, but I’ve no respect for the art of street dancing as some legitimate form of gang warfare. “Oh I’m going to serve you so hard!” simply doesn’t have the same force of pointing a gun or knife at someone’s face; I suppose it’s good society is treating getting “served” as seriously as getting stabbed or shot, but really…what the hell. Who goes around challenging one another to dancing? How do you manage to do that and not laugh in their face? It baffles me. I’ve no problem with the art of dance, I have all the respect for it; but the thought of underground contests on who can dish out the most head spins and fancy hand waves the fastest just makes me cringe.
The film had its share of eye candy, of both the male and female variety, but the characters themselves were about as vapid and clear as crystal. The relationship between the leads was obvious and the geeky “Moose” actually getting a girl at the end has become a cliché of sorts to the point where I just don’t care about the geek anymore. And that in of itself is a shame.
Overall Step Up 2 the Streets, which, having not seen the original, doesn’t bring anything new to the dance table. It’s the same old street dancing shtick…and that’s not really a positive field to get stuck in anyway. Rental for those who like this kind of film, Skip It for the rest of us who like our money.
Oh joy, plenty of extras. First things first are the packaging: and embossed slipcase is included, although there isn’t anything on it to differentiate it from the art below. Inside is a trio of inserts, one detailing the disc and contents of it, an insert touting Blu-ray and a coupon for $3 off College Road Trip with an advertisement for some Frontline dance thing on the reverse. Disc art mimics the cover art and menu system is laid out easily. Video transfer is a solid 1.85:1 transfer and the accompanying 5.1 mix really makes use of the subwoofer during the music and dance sequences.
First up on the extras docket are the eight “Deleted Scenes” (16:14) with optional commentary by director Jon M. Chu. Next is the selection of six music videos (22:28), which are the only extras here that aren’t in anamorphic widescreen. “Through Fresh Eyes: The Making of Step Up 2 the Streets” (12:24) is our making-of the film and “Outlaws of Hip-Hop: Meet the ‘410’” (4:54) interviews real life Street dancers (exciting!). “Robert Hoffman Video Prank” (1:58) is a quick little convenience store prank he pulls that, admittedly, is quite humorous, although entirely random. A bonus easter egg entitled “Jon Chu Tells Briana She Has the Role” (2:19) is one of the more exciting extras, as we get to hear star Briana Evigan’s reaction to getting the title role.
Those are the extras in a nutshell; the deleted scenes are easily skipped and the making-of is just a bunch of the usual studio fluff. Some of the dance chorography stuff is, admittedly, interesting to watch and to see how much hard work really goes into this stuff, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. As with the film, this DVD is Recommended for those who are comfortable and enjoy this genre; the rest of us can simply wave at this title as it passes us by.
Step Up 2 The Streets is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. And has been for some time now.