StreetDance 2 Movie Review
This time they're mashing-up street with salsa, not ballet. So at least this one's a bit zestier.
Ash (Hentschel) is a cocky American in London, recovering from humiliation at the hands of street-dance crew Invincible. Then he runs into fast-talking Eddie (Sampson), who offers to help him assemble an even better crew, hand-picking dancers from all over Europe for the final showdown in Paris. With six weeks to rehearse, Eddie then introduces Ash to Latina hottie Eva (Boutella), and they hatch a plan to fuse street edge with salsa passion and knock Invincible off its perch.
Of course, the plot follows the expected beats, including dissension in the ranks, a tetchy romance between Ash and Eva, a protective uncle (Conti) and a last-minute plot point that threatens to unravel everything right before the big competition. All of this is conveyed through genuinely terrible dialog that defeats the inexperienced actors. Only Conti manages to chomp on it gleefully (while also adds a silly French accent).
Fortunately, directors Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini know that the script is mere framework for them to indulge whizzy dance numbers. So they sideline the dialog and get everyone moving as often as possible. The Latin nightclub scenes sizzle with sexuality, while the street-dance battles bristle with attitude. Put them together, and the finale can't help but get us smiling and tapping our feet, even if it feels like forever until we get there.
Hentschel gives the film an unusual centre, as his self-absorbed character isn't very likeable. Beneath his bravado, Ash is actually terrified of failure, which is a bit more depth than we usually get in a formulaic dance-off movie.
And his scenes with Boutella are genuinely spicy, even as we realise that the family-friendly tone of the film means things won't actually get steamy. Around them are a gang of hilarious characters we'd really like to see more of. So let's hope a third film is in the works with a new plot and a real title this time, please.