When exactly did dance movies become such a viable genre and who can we call to put a stop to it? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against dancing. If you want to shake your assets to a thumping beat and film it for ogling purposes, have at it. It’s this fantasy dance world the movies have created that’s so confusing. Is there really an underground street dance circuit with evil arrogant dance crews touring the world looking for aspiring young booty-shakers to take down a notch? Are there really massive dance tournaments held in stadiums to adoring crowds comprised entirely of beautiful people? Is the culture so big that ever major city houses secret superstars waiting to be plucked from obscurity for an all-star team primed to take out the evil dance crews?
Somehow I doubt it, yet every year at least one new movie comes along about this culture suggesting that it must be huge or at least there are enough people enamored by the idea to plunk down the ticket price annually. Who the hell knows what’s going on in that crazy dance world? There’s always a new franchise or sequel coming out with the exact same plot and indistinguishable characters. I don’t know anyone who sees them, but they must make money and apparently the niche audience loves watching the exact same story over and over and over….
So this year we get StreetDance 2, but don’t worry if you missed out on part one. There’s minimal continuity. A couple characters return, but they never mention the last go around. In fact, the movie’s practically a remake. Falk Hentschel is our hero Ash. He’s an aspiring dancer who works as a popcorn vender at a big dance tournament who humiliates himself when he challenges world champ Vince (Anwar Burton, leader of InVinceIble) and falls on his face. The dancing set of balls he showed impresses Eddie (George Sampson, returning from part one, but again no reference is made) who has decided to manage a crew to take down Vince and he wants Ash to lead the way. So they travel across Europe to bring together a ragtag group of underground street dancers that Eddie has scouted and can apparently fund, despite no indication that he, you know, has a job beyond starring in StreetDance movies.
Eddie’s crew already includes a kid and a tattoo artist, but at this point in the dance movie cycle it’s not enough to merely get a street dance team together, now you’ve got to fuse it with other style of dancing that makes the team complain at first, only to be gradually seduced by the unconventional combination. Last time, it was ballet. This time, for some inexplicable reason, Eddie decides to fuse street dance to Latin dancing. In Paris, they meet the lovely Eva (Sofia Boutella), who provides a love interest for Ash while proving that sultry Latin dance moves have a place in hip-hop beats. She also has a father to wax poetic about the power of Latin dance played by Scottish character actor Tom Conti with an indistinguishable European accent. His presence creates the film’s most hilarious scene in which Ash proves his worth to Eva’s poppa by challenging him to a chili pepper eating competition that is shot like a spaghetti Western shoot out for reasons known only to co-directors Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini. It all builds to a massive dance competition held in a Coliseum that apparently exists in Paris. No points will be awarded for correctly guessing the outcome.
Simply summarizing the plot of a movie like StreetDance 2 kind of takes care of the review. As you can tell it’s the same plot we’ve scene in every other genre entry. The cast is comprised dancers, not actors. That means their moves look pretty sweet, but whenever the characters open their mouths prepare for some Razzie-worthy work. Not that it matters, other than Ash and Eva they don’t say much beyond gems like “Oy! What’s this Latin dance business all about?” or “You’ve got to stay true to the crew, mate.” (note: not actual lines, but close). Of course, it’s all shot in 3D to try and distract you from the lacking story and boost box office receipts. All that really means is that there are scenes where people throw popcorn at the camera or have a pillow fight with feathers flying everywhere that would make you go “Whoooooa cool!” if it was still 2009.
As you may have gathered, StreetDance 2 isn’t a very good movie. However, like all movies in the genre it does have one thing going for it: camp appeal. These films are ludicrous garbage with bad acting, paint-by-numbers plotting, and laughable dialogue. However, none of these films are played with even a remote hint of self-consciousness or a sense of humor. Nope, the filmmakers are always incredibly earnest in their dance flick pursuits and as a result you’re more likely to laugh hysterically at the embarrassing filmmaking than feel ripped off for shelling out cash for a ticket. If you enjoy laughing through bad movies as much as being captivated by good ones and have a soft spot for acrobatic dance movies, StreetDance 2 is certainly not without its charms. It’s very select crowd who qualify for that audience, but I guess they are the ones keeping the genre chugging along. The good news for those folks is that it doesn’t look like they have to worry about the dance movie party ending any time soon. The bad news is that for everyone else, it doesn’t look like they have to worry about the dance movie party ending any time soon.