Step Up 2 The Streets

Step Up 2 The Streets (2008)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Briana Evigan,Robert Hoffman,Will Kemp
Extras: Featurettes,Deleted ScenesMusic Videos

"Step Up 2 The Streets" is the new urban dance drama brought to us by director Jon Chu. Audiences don't go into a film like his with ideas of following some well arranged plot, or to get deeply involved in the characters, they come to see the dance moves, listen to the music and check out the fashion. It is less a sequel to 2006's "Step Up" than a reimagining, both films take place in Baltimore and feature some slick dance moves and both are directed in a fast paced MTV style that moves at a Ritalin induced pace designed to keep the young kids glued to the screen. But at least it's not pretending to be something it's not, unlike some other films that cater to the younger crowd; this film pretty much sets up its own rhythm from the beginning, and is a straight forward type of affair.

Andie West (Brianna Evigan) is a troubled young teen whose mother recently passed away. She is living under the care of her mom's best friend, who is more than a little concerned with the thug types she has been hanging out with. The plan is to ship her to Texas to live with her aunt unless she cleans up her act. After consulting with her friend (Channing Tatum), the talented young dancer decides to apply her skills at the Maryland School Of Arts, where she dreams of being trained to dance in the classical fashion (as opposed to her sexy and attitude laced version known also as street dancing),

This doesn't sit well with her thuggish friends with the street dancing club known as the 410 (after a Baltimore area code). These guys have some serious street codes that are unnamed but perhaps these street codes are built in, I don't know. One thing is certain, these guys live to dance, and when word gets out that she has betrayed the club, they disown her, which leads her to start her own private renegade dance group of other 410 refugees, and the whole leads up to a dramatic dance off that is fight to the finish and filled with lots of "Rocky" style hope and stick with what you believe in sentimentality.

Yes, of course the plot is ridiculous, and the movie is like watching "The Wire" if it were done up like "West Side Story", but for those of you who are out to see something like this, you certainly won't be let down with this one, and I'm sure you could do far worse, although right off the top of my head I can't come up with any alternate titles in my immediate memory because I avoid these films like the plague ("Cool As Ice" perhaps is a good example of where you could make a wrong turn, or perhaps the often overlooked dance fable "Breakin' 2:Electric Bugaloo"). Either way, my point is, although the film certainly isn't my type of entertainment, and I actually found it cringe inducing at times, perhaps this movie could find it's audience. As for the Blu-ray itself, that is another story.

Coming to us in the form of a 50 GB dual layer disc "Step Up 2 The Streets" is framed at 1.85:1 and features an overall image that is somewhat inconsistent. The black levels don't seem quite as multilayered as they could be during the alley dance sequences, and yet the overall image is fairly sharp and noticeably high def at times, although it appears somewhat under saturated at times, since I was expecting a very colorful film that popped off the screen. For a brand new release, I was a bit underwhelmed at the picture much of the time, something about it seemed a bit soft.

But the audio is a different story altogether, since it features so much music and dancing, your subwoofer will get a very healthy workout, and the surround tracks are quite frequent, we also never miss any dialogue and all in all this is a very good sounding Uncompressed PCM track that will certainly impress fans of this music drenched dance fest.

As for the special features side, they are on the slim side and are pretty run of the mill, as I expected, we have about twenty five minutes of 'Deleted Scenes' that are featured in standard def, along with an amusing 'Robert Hoffman Video Prank'. And presented in high def are a behind the scenes featurette called 'Through Fresh Eyes: The Making Of Step Up 2' which features the director along with the cast and crew as they take us on a twelve minute voyage into the world they lived in to create "Step Up 2". Although running only about thirteen minutes, it more than covers every angle I was interested in.

We also have some high definition music videos, which is certainly a nice touch, especially for fans of this type of polished Hip Hop. 'Outlaws Of Hip Hop: Meet The 410' is a very short feature that examines the dance street dancing cult featured in the film. These guys dance until the dawn and then dance some more, dancing is their life.

So that wraps up the Blu-ray version of "Step Up 2 The Streets", a film I certainly could have missed, but it wasn't as unbearable as I thought it would be. Fans of the film will certainly want to check out the Blu-ray version, although more for the sound than the picture, others will want to stay away entirely.