With the ultimate streetdance clash just weeks away, a lone dancer sets out to get a crew to take on the reigning champions – the aptly named Invincible. But first, they have to find something to set their moves apart from the crowd.
2010s Streetdance 3D (read our review) was an unexpected guilty pleasure – taking the tried and tested tropes of the dance movie genre and dressing them up with the extra dimension and some added vfx sparkle entertained me no end. The presentational style of the lengthy dance numbers is perfectly suited to a frontal 3D camera angle and when you add in the obvious talent of the performers and choreographers it’s not far removed from a glossy reality show.
And so to the inevitable sequel. Streetdance 2 is intent to keep to the formula as much as possible – setting up an extremely basic plot and introducing little but a new dance style; Latin instead of ballet. The stage is set for a by the numbers 85 minutes filled with attractive people, training montages, awkward dialogue and some impressive dance numbers.
Sadly, despite there literally being a template made by the same people a mere two years ago, Streetdance 2 fails to capitalise on any of its strengths while simultaneously focussing attention on its weaker elements.
The story is far from the worst offender but it’s the most immediately obvious. Whenever the narrative runs into a problem it couldn’t be arsed building an actual scene around, it resorts to endless voice over exposition that neatly skips the need to actually film anything. The characters are dull and wafer thing, the dialogue especially grim and there’s little reason for the central romance.
Which would all be fine if this dance movie didn’t commit the cardinal sin – poorly presented dance sequences. The original Streetdance thrived in its dance moments, lavishing them with the kind of care and attention an action film reserves for its most explosive set pieces. In truth, a movie like this isn’t far removed from an action flick and Streetdance let us see the scenes play out almost in real time, from a well chosen point of view and even used Matrix like panning effects to show off the coolest moves.
In Streetdance 2, you won’t find a single unbroken dance number – every sequence is edited into tiny pieces and the camera has an infuriating habit of cutting to characters for some ‘acting’ right in the middle of the most impressive moves. Even the 3D seems blunted this time, with little presence and few flashy effects though that could be merely a function of audiences increase indifference to the form.
Amid the endless cacophony of clichés there’s even an attempt to inject some actual drama – chiefly by letting veteran Tom Conti run away with every scene he appears in. It’s a noble attempt but you have to wonder – why bother? People came to see the dancing, not to listen to some faux French dude waffling about chilli and love.
It’s hard to recommend Streetdance 2 for any audience. It’s difficult to discern whether the dancing is impressive, the 3D is poor and those expecting an actual film would be advised to steer well clear. Even little George Sampson is saddled with a role that actively prohibits him from dancing. Poppycock!