Reviewed by GREG KING
Directors: Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini
Stars: Falk Hentschel, Sofia Boutella, George Sampson, Tom Conti, Stephanie Nguyen, Delphine Nguyen, Elisabetta Di Carlo, Ali Ramdani, Kaito Masai, .
This is a cliched and unnecessary sequel to 2010’s Streetdance, which, inexplicably, proved to be a huge success at the box office. In the first Streetdance, a hip hop dance crew was forced to work with ballet dancers from the Royal Dance School in exchange for rehearsal space, which set up some tension as the two distinctive styles clashed. Streetdance 2 moves away from the setting of the first film and heads across to Europe, but otherwise holds few surprises.
Following his humiliation at a dance competition, Ash (played by Falk Hentschel) is keen to win the next international contest in Paris. With the help of Eddie (former Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson, reprising his role from the first film) he heads across Europe assembling a crew of the best street dancers, hoping to wrest the title from the seemingly unbeatable Invincible crew. This allows for a montage of postcard opportunities in some of Europe’s most picturesque cities.
After spotting the sultry salsa dancer Eva (Sofia Boutella), Ash wants to combine the raw energy and aggression of street dance with the seductive moves of Latin-inspired dance. He has just over two weeks to whip the motley crew into shape and practice their routines. Of course, there are the usual dramatic complications that threaten to derail the crew before they even hit the stage.
The narrative follows the same trajectory as most other dance films (Step Up, Stomp The Yard, etc), and is both familiar and predictable. The script from Jane English is fairly predictable; the characters are one-dimensional and the dialogue is horribly wooden. Having directed the first Streetdance, Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini are familiar with what their audience expects, and they deliver plenty of energetic dance routines.
The dance sequences have been choreographed by Rich and Tone, who have worked with the likes of Michael Jackson. However, they are shot and edited in that sort of hyper-kinetic style preferred by most modern young directors, which dilutes much of their fluidity and power. Like its predecessor, Streetdance 2 has been shot in 3D, although the process adds little to the film. However, a couple of sequences, including a pillow fight in which feathers fly everywhere, seem to have been designed purely to highlight the technique.
The largely unknown cast includes real life YouTube sensations Stephanie “Lil Steph” Nguyen, Delphine “Deydey” Nguyen, Elisabetta “Betty Style” Di Carlo, Ali “’Lilou” Ramdani and Kaito “Kite” Masai, who throw themselves into their roles with gusto. Coming from a background mainly in television dramas, Hentschel has the same sort of brooding quality and taciturn presence as Channing Tatum, but he is also a very wooden actor. Boutella comes from a background as a dancer who has performed with the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonna, and she brings a sultry quality to her role.
Streetdance at least had Charlotte Rampling lending some much needed grace and gravitas to the material; here we get veteran Tom Conti (from Shirley Valentine, etc), who is wasted in a thankless role as Manu, Eva’s overprotective uncle and bartender.
Streetdance 2 is lightweight and predictable stuff, but there is obviously an audience for this kind of film.