2 out of 5 stars
Movies involving dancers breaking the mold, fighting adversity and overcoming human differences are almost as common as your everyday mold. Just like any old mold seeing it prompts you to deal with it as soon as possible. It’s usually just as an unappealing to watch as any run of the mill dance movie. To say "if you have seen one dance movie that you have seen them all" is a fairly true statement. Street Dance, co-directed by Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini, has virtually every cliche from Dirty Dancing to Save The Last Dance yet somehow drops the ball and fails to deliver on a tried and true formula.
The movie follows the classic down and out dancers trying to make their way as performers. This specific street dancing crew is on the verge of breaking up after Carly (Nicola Burly) takes over for her ex-boyfriend Jay (Ukweli Roach) as lead choreographer. After losing their rehearsal space they try dancing on the streets for cash yet they can’t legally dance anywhere they choose to go. Coincidentally Carly runs along a ballet studio and meets Helena (Charlotte Rampling) one of the teachers at the studio. Helena proposes that she will let Carly’s crew practice in one of the studios but only if she teaches some of her top ballet students how to street dance. What ensues is clashes over studio space and dance styles while they learn to embrace their differences. Carly ends up falling for one of the ballet students, Tomas (Richard Winsor) as they struggle to accept their love. After Carly get’s back together with Jay she and the crew find out he has betrayed them by jumping ship to their rival crew. In they end they all manage to embrace their street dance destiny just in time for the big dance off. They subsequently serve Jay and their rival crew winning the championship.
The stunning choreography in most dance movies usually makes up for the flaws in story and character depth. Street Dance does offer it’s fair share of incredible performances which makes this movie somewhat entertaining for the dancing alone, yet with the majority of the movie being an extended dance explosion, the choreographed dance moves tend to meld together. This leaves any fragment of storyline lost in the midst of popping and locking. The movie is almost too formulaic as it goes from dialogue scene, to dance montage, followed by extremely long dance numbers. Insert two random exposition lines and then cut back to another dance montage. Only to end up repeating the cycle. In a movie where the audience already knows generally how the story should go the visual style cannot be repetitive, otherwise what’s the point in watching this movie over any other dance flick.
Since the movie was released in theaters as a 3D experience I thought the movie would deliver some slightly interesting visual’s. But without those glasses the non 3D experience only gives the viewer awkward slow motion effects and slightly accelerated aerial moves. This gives the movie a lagging effect which looks terrible. Frankly without the 3D capability the 3D moments throw the entire pace of the scene off. The frame is very ill composed which makes the cinematic experience fall flat at times. However the movie does offer a rather catchy soundtrack which helps to make the musical montages look better then they appear to be.
Considering this is an extremely formulaic plot, I would expect that the director’s would follow that formula by offering the audience an adequate ending. Instead we end on a freeze frame leaving those who sat paying attention to the storyline feeling cheated by the very abrupt ending. But a dance movie is made to be enjoyed for the dancing, so when the storyline fails, lean on what works. Besides dance numbers that slightly resemble a S Club 7 television episodes, the movie offers enough to keep any avid dance movie enthusiast happy. However, I can see this being a one time watch at best when there are plenty of other tried and true dance movies out there.