Regardless of whether it’s a good film or not, StreetDance has its loyal fan base – paying punters – ready to flock to see the latest nimble starlets battling against the odds and demonstrating some astounding moves as their ammunition. Admittedly, whether you’re a fan or not, it’s always captivating for the length of each dance set piece – and we all know the outcome and who the victors in the dance-off will be. However, waiting to be dazzled by each routine is as painful and ugly an experience as getting corns on the feet.
In the 2012 film, after being humiliated by the crew and reigning champs Invincible, popcorn seller and street dancer Ash (Falk Hentschel) goes on a journey to recruit Europe’s best dancers of all persuasions for the world rematch. Along the way he gets introduced to salsa in Paris, under the charms of Eva (Sofia Boutella), the salsa queen at her uncle Manu’s (Tom Conti) club.
Predictability – dance cultures clash then unite to form something unique for the finale, while a ‘West Side Story’ style romance blossoms between members of the two rival groups – has to be excused with such a film: We know we’re watching a path to success. There’s also a healthy and infectious dose of competition to get behind, combined with hormones and sweaty, supple bodies.
However, the ‘acting’ (in the loosest possible terms) in between each routine is as dire as it gets: Eddie – former Britain’s Got Talent contestant George Sampson – returns, trying his hardest to be the lovable joker, but bouncing off wooden muscle man Ash, he simply comes across like an over-excitable puppy. Hentschel only really awakens from his trance in the arms of Boutella as sultry Eva. But the only thrilling non-dancing performance is given by Conti in a part not too dissimilar to Shirley Valentine’s Costas, camping it up to hide the non-existent script.
The film has a thrillingly energetic salsa-street music mix that warrants a second listen or download. That said StreetDance 2 (3D) generally feels like a collection of teen music videos tentatively strung together by clichéd lines – just take the fake-looking pillow fight in the hostel dorm, slow-mo-ed for full titillating effect.
As for the 3D, it disappointingly didn’t add much more to the movement and excitement of the dance: The routines are enough visual eye candy without necessarily adding new technology, but it didn’t detract from the entertainment either – unless you find the glasses a bad fit. As a piece of catchy pop culture, the StreetDance franchise has a natural buzz, licensed to thrill again with the latest edition, plus a great soundtrack – just don’t expect much more than awesome moves for your money.