Step Up movies are known for their trite, formulaic plots and eye-catching dance set-pieces, and this instalment in the series certainly won't disappoint the fans. What makes this one slightly more fun is the fact that the filmmakers remember not to take anything quite so seriously. The melodrama is undercut with sardonic humour, the gyrations of the plot are so obvious that the script doesn't even bother to mislead us, and the dance scenes are fantastically over the top.
After The Mob dance crew conquered Miami in Step Up 4, they moved to Los Angeles, but found fame rather fickle. When they lose another job to their rival Jasper (Stephen Stevo Jones), head of The Grim Knights, they decide to go back home. But Sean (Ryan Guzman) has nothing to return to, so opts to stay, even though it means working as a cleaner at a salsa studio. This helps him reconnect with Step Up veteran Moose (Adam Sevani), and together they concoct a plan to form a new crew and enter the reality TV competition The Vortex, hosted by the preening Alexxa (Izabella Miko). With Moose's old pal Andie (Step Up 2's Brianna Evigan) on board, they bring together an appropriately eclectic team, which they name Lmntrix. And they head to Las Vegas for the big show.
It hardly needs to be said that Lmntrix are on a collision course to meet both The Mob and The Grim Knights in the final rounds. So with no suspense in the plot we can sit back and enjoy the dancing. And the choreographers have taken the Vegas theme to heart, designing routines that are more focussed on subtle power moves than street intensity. So each successive routine looks like another themed Cirque du Soleil number, building to a climax that will boggle the mind. Fortunately, all of this is directed with a light touch by choreographer Trish Sie, so it's easy to sit back and laugh with the cast rather than at them for a change.
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In a noble but poor neighbourhood under a stack of bridges by the Miami River, Sean (Guzman) and his pal Eddy (Gabriel) lead an underground dance crew called The Mob to perform flash-mob antics in picturesque locations. Their goal is to win an online competition and go pro. Then Sean meets Emily (McCormick), whose property tycoon dad (Gallagher) wants to destroy Sean's neighbourhood to build another glitzy development. While trying to make her own way in dance school, Emily hides her identity to join The Mob and take on Dad.
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