Step Up: All In Will Have Dance Fans All In

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Summit Pictures

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Summit Pictures

Lionsgate and Summit Pictures releases the latest installment of the popular Step Up franchise tomorrow in stores and online.  This latest installment, the series’ sixth, is another fun little romp for anyone that is a fan of all things dance.  Those that are fans of the Step Up franchise will enjoy primarily the movie’s script.  The script is simple enough and doesn’t really require much thought.  It also lifts somewhat liberally from certain other flicks that have come before.  The movie’s overly abundant number of dance numbers will impress fans of the franchise, too.  On a completely separate note, there is the movie’s rating.  Yes, the movie’s rating.  This must be noted as part of the movie’s whole.  The movie received a PG-13 rating.  But in its defense, it really was not deserving of that rating.  That will be discussed later.  The undeserved rating aside, the combination of the story and the dance numbers together will impress any fan of the Step Up franchise and prove it to be a fitting finale for the series should it be the series’ last installment.

“Every step has led to this.”  That is the line used on the front of the box for Step Up: All In.  It hints that perhaps this installment is the finale for the hugely popular dance-centric franchise.  If it is the last of the series’ movies, then the series has gone out on a positive note….er….step.  Yes, that bad pun was fully intended.  The movie, which will be released in stores and online tomorrow, November 4th, is an interesting work.  The central reason for its interest is its script.  The movie’s script focuses on Sean (Ryan Guzman) in his attempts to break out of his work-a-day world and put his talents as a dancer to use in a huge dance competition in Las Vegas called “The Vortex.”  The ultimate reveal as to his intentions is what makes the story interesting.  Unlike so many cookie cutter movies of its ilk, this story’s central character isn’t out to become a major celebrity.  Rather, as he explains to his new crew late in the movie, he just wants to make something of himself.  He wants something better for himself and the rest of his crew.  He tells them he doesn’t care about being a TV star or anything like that.  He just wants to dance and use dance for a living.  It’s a nice change of pace from the movies that fill out this movie’s genre.  Speaking of those movies, audiences can easily see hints of movies such as Universal’s Pitch Perfect and Blues Brothers 2000 and Disney’s High School Musical franchise.  That is thanks to the story’s execution.  That includes the numerous dance sequences, which will be discussed later.

The surprise twist added to the story by the writing team of John Swetnam and Duane Adler makes the movie an interesting watch in itself.  Of course, the requisite romance subplot is there.  Swetnam and Adler have also included the mandatory inner conflict for Sean as he is forced to face off against an old friend when his new dance crew has to take on his old crew.  That crew just happens to be headed up by Sean’s old friend.  Luckily that latter element is kept to an extreme minimum so as to not overpower this movie’s central plot.  Had that happened, it would have made the movie unbearable even for those that are familiar with its predecessors and who enjoyed said movies.  Even the mandatory romance subplot is kept to a minimum.  It’s good to see that Swetnam and Adler balanced the story’s various elements as well as they did.  The end result is a story that actually allows audiences to suspend their disbelief, turn off their brains for about an hour and a half (actually just over that) and enjoy some talented dancing and its associated beats.

John Swetnam and Duane Adler’s script for Step Up: All In is the core of the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged throughout the course of the movie’s almost two hour run time.  While Adler and Swetnam are to be commended for their script, the story itself is only part of the whole that makes the movie work.  It goes without saying that the Step Up franchise in whole is very much a niche franchise.  It won’t reach everybody.  But those that are into the dance arts will enjoy the dance sequences that are included throughout the movie.  There aren’t just a couple dance sequences, either.  This critic specifically stopped counting at five sequences.  There is no denying the talents of the dancers, either.  Even if one is not exactly a fan of dance, one must admit that the dancers themselves are quite talented.  The choreography of the sequences in whole is just as impressive.  It had to have taken endless hours for the choreographers and dancers to perfect each of the movie’s multitudes of sequences.  Taking that into account the dance sequences, which are essentially the collective core of the movie, prove to be another key part of why audiences will want to give Step Up: All In at least once.

The dance sequences and the script that make up Step Up: All In are collectively more than enough reason for any fan of the long-running franchise to check out its latest installment.  This is the case regardless of whether or not is proves to be the series’ finale.  Getting on a different path for a moment, the movie’s rating is perhaps a bit undeserved.  The movie received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.  The reason given was “some language and suggestive material.”  There are perhaps only two instances throughout the course of the movie in which any foul language is used.  There is no nudity anywhere throughout any scene.  Given the outfits on both the side of the men and women are a bit skimpy.  But they are not to the level of being overly revealing.  The dancing is dancing.  Sure some of it may be a little bit risqué.  But compared to numbers in the likes of Cabaret and other works, it can hardly be considered suggestive at every point.  The only time that a PG-13 rating might be considered worthy is a dance sequence in “The Vortex” competition.  The sequence in question involves members of Sean’s crew simulating urinating on their opponent.  That would be the only time that a PG-13 rating would truly be justified.  Other than that one moment, very little of the material in this question would be considered overly questionable by today’s standards.  It’s one more reason that Step Up: All In proves in the end to be worth at least one watch. This is regardless of one’s own familiarity with the moves that came before this one.

The script behind Lionsgate’s new addition to the Step Up franchise and the movie’s multitude of dance sequences are both important factors to consider in the movie’s success. Audiences will find enjoyment out of both factors. Considering the fact that perhaps at only one point is there anything truly questionable (besides occasionally the dancers’ outfits), it all makes the movie’s PG-13 rating hold even less water. Could that one questionable dance move have been removed? Yes. It could have. But it really proves to be the only truly questionable moment in the entire movie. That being the case, it takes away very little from the rest of the movie and keeps it still worth at least one watch. It will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4th on DVD +Digital HD combo pack and Blu-ray+Digital HD combo pack. More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at:

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