Director: Jon Chu.
Cast: Adam Sevani, Sharni Vinson, Rick Malambri, Alyson Stoner.
IN it's infancy in the '50s and it's '80s rebirth, 3D movies tended to rely on the idea that objects coming at the camera were enough to satisfy the audience.
Step Up 3D makes the same mistake, forgoing real thrills and replacing them with... well... lots of objects coming at the camera.
So through the course of this formulaic addition to the Step Up series, the audience dodges dust, bubbles, water, balloons, slurpees, lasers and lots of pointing hands.
If this is enough to dazzle, that's cool, but it's a bit of a distraction because the makers of this threquel were actually onto a good idea here. One could argue that along with horror films, dance movies could benefit from the use of the third dimension, and when Step Up 3D isn't throwing stuff at the crowd, its dance sequences do jump out of the screen in a pretty cool way.
As you'd expect, the routines here are impressive but the plot is less so. Returning character Moose (Sevani) moves to New York and falls in with a dance group who live in an idyllic rehearsal space with its own club and where no one ever complains about whose turn it is to do the dishes.
But the group can't afford its rent (despite having a collection of Nikes that would be worth five figures), so unless they win the World Jam dance competition, they'll be out on the street.
There are plenty of training montages, dance sequences (which are worked in seamlessly), and the necessary romances and betrayals.
As by-the-book as it all is, audiences are really only there to see the fancy footwork. Most are great, particularly a fantastic one-take throwback to the musicals of old, as Moose and his best friend Camille (Stoner) bounce off park benchs and rubbish bins while hot-stepping their way down a New York street.
Not so good is the big finale, in which Step Up 3D pulls out every gimmick and cliche possible, resulting in an unsatisfying resolution - when every dance routine in the rest of the film is better than the supposedly show-stopping finale, it's not a good thing.