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StreetDance 2 3D is a sequel to the very successful StreetDance 3D, which was the first 3D movie to be released in the UK and the first ever 3D dance movie. Like its older sibling, StreetDance 2 3D looks set to be a success at the box office with promising reviews from its premiere in UK on 10 February with first weekend takings of £608,024 pounds sterling, well below the couple of million for StreetDance 3D, but still making it fifth on the charts. Of course there will be those who say it is not as good as the first StreetDance and others who say it is much better. Either way, despite some irritations, it is definitely worth seeing.
The theatrical poster of StreetDance 2 3D promises a rather gutsy and sexy storyline to go along with the anticipated great dance moves in the hip hop, break dance style. What the audience gets is less and more than expected. The "less" is in the domain of passion because despite the allusion to sex, nudity, and even sado-masochism in the Paris bar boxing ring, and the tantalising beginnings of a love triangle it all ends up bland and tame. What the film delivers is a naive and prudish portrayal of the relationship between the male lead Ash played by Falk Henschel and the unequivocal star of the film, Eva, played by the beautiful and talented Sofia Boutella, backer to Madonna and face of Nike. The nakedness mentioned is clarified to refer to "the soul"; the dancer in the ring is not bound, she is using the ropes herself as a prop and the love triangle vanishes into thin air.
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The unfortunate Ash never recovers from his entrance into the film as a popcorn boy, who is ridiculed and pelted with popcorn by the dance team the Invincibles when he trips over his feet when dancing. It is his struggle to get even and to regain his status as a hero that becomes the raison d'etre of the movie and the basis of the plot which is inevitably just a vehicle to showcase the dancing. Vince, the leader of the Invincibles, is none other than the stylish and multi-talented Anwar Burton, now called Flii Stylz who for my money should either have been given the male lead or at least should have been written more effectively into the plot.
Ash, despite his athletic physique and dance abilities, remains the weakest link in a weak script; easily led, ready to give up, almost lets Eva walk away from the group and who becomes a winner by association more than by anything else. What a disappointment that Eva doesn't fall for Vince; we could have at least been treated to a dance between the handsome and masculine leader of the Invincibles and the sultry salsa and Latin dancer.
Although hampered by a stilted script which attempts to bring in the epic sentiments of what it takes to be a hero, how to express oneself in dance and how to be a loyal friend, the words are often just spasmodic clichés left hanging. A film needs to develop these in the storyline rather than merely getting a character to announce them before every dance sequence, which brings us to the "more".
From the title and from the first Streetdance, we know there will be some good dancing but the dance sequences in StreetDance 2 3D are much more than this; they are impressive, full of life, vibrant and varied, containing every move in hip hop and breakdance such as roboting, locking, popping, acrobatics and whatever other techniques you could suggest for this genre. The Latin style with its salsa and tango is incorporated effectively as part of the vision of fusion between the two disparate styles and its role in the battle between the two dance groups.
The dancing is fun, never tedious and in fact is sometimes tantalisingly short. Somewhat reminiscent of the choreographed food fight in StreetDance but memorable nevertheless, the choreographed pillow fight begins with floating feathers and ends with dancers in luscious swirling clouds of white, reminiscent of snow. The snippet of musical clicking and tapping as Eva's uncle recovers in hospital is a little gem.
The 3D representation throughout the movie is effective. Overall, there is enough to keep everyone entertained. The kids will love the popcorn being pelted at Ash, the pillow fight and the classic chase through the streets of Rome, complete with motor-bike, cars through laundry hanging on the line and the ultimate collision with the flower-sellers. Their grandparents will like the city icons of the Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square in London, the Tour Eiffel, The Arc de Triomphe, the sparkling banlieues of Paris at night in France and the majestic architecture of Prague and Berlin.
The soundtrack is brilliant with 26 songs including the lead single "Go In, Go Hard" by Angel, "We Will Rock You" by Queen, "Together" by Herve, "BowWowWow" by Bodyrox and 'Ride My Beat" by Polluted Mindz. This film soundtrack released in early April is sure to become a top seller.
Despite the weak annoying lead and his offsider, Eddy, played by 'Britain's Got Talent" winner George Sampson who gets to "act" more than showcase his dance in this film, along with some gauche 1960s editing, this film is amazingly uplifting. Take a bow Sofia, Flii, Tom Conti who plays Uncle Manu, the dancing, the choreography, the music, the patches of comedy and the delightful crafted windows which form the backdrop to the boxing ring in the Paris bar.
StreetDance 2 3D is a family film which promotes good values. There is no sex and no violence of any sort. Even on stage at the end after all the "gladiator" build up, the loser meekly grabs the trophy and personally hands it to the winner and they hug on stage, possibly the most passionate thing in the movie. It is rated PG with some mild coarse language, which must have been really mild as I didn't notice any. It is possibly aimed at the age group between 9 and young teens and of course at dancers of any age who will appreciate the talent in this film.
StreetDance 2 3D is released by Vertigo Films in association with BBC Films and BFI. It is directed by Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini; produced by James Richardson and Allan Nibio and written by Jane English. Dance teams appearing are Flawless and B-boys.