Blu-Review: StreetDance 3D

Directed By Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini
Starring Nichola Burley, Richard Winsor, Charlotte Rampling, George Sampson, Diversity and Flawless


If you’ve watched any of the recent crop of dance movies, then you’ve essentially already seen StreetDance 3D. Borrowing liberally from Save the Last Dance, Stomp The Yard, Fame, Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D and the no-doubt upcoming Step Up 4: Step To Your Left a Little, StreetDance 3D follows the familiar dance movie formula to the letter, offering up exactly what you’d expect without any surprises or much originality. In fairness though, the same criticism could be levelled at any and all of the above films, and if you’re someone who digs the dance film genre, then you’ll find a lot to enjoy in StreetDance, too.

When her boyfriend and the leader of her street dance crew skips town to take a break from things, young dancer Carly (Nichola Burley) is left to train the crew and take them to the national championships. Juggling heartbreak, working in a sandwich shop and busting gravity-defying dance moves is a bit too much to ask of anyone though, and she forgets to book their regular rehearsal space. With nowhere to train, she’s offered a proposition by posh ballet instructor Helena (Charlotte Rampling): their dance crew can use her ballet studio to train, free of charge, on the condition that they breathe some life into her stuffy ballet dancers and include them in their championship street dance performance. With just weeks to go before the competition, the kids from the streets will have to bond with the prim-and-proper ballet kids and merge their diverse styles if they’re to stand a chance of winning.

As you might’ve noticed from the film’s advertising, the central marketing hook is that UK reality TV dance acts George Sampson, Diversity and Flawless make appearances. The less theatrically experienced dancers more than hold their own with the professional actors in the cast, but that’s something of a back-handed compliment considering the acting on display is average at best all-around. Charlotte Rampling elevates every scene she’s in, but the younger cast struggle to convincingly deliver the bland dialogue and non-existent characters they’re tasked with. While the acting’s certainly fine for what the film is, there’s nobody with the raw charisma of Channing Tatum (Step Up) or Columbus Short (Stomp the Yard) and the romantic interest equivalent (Richard Winsor) might as well be a statue carved from sheer solidified boredom for all the life he shows. As a result, the entire romantic subplot is an especially dull distraction from the more energetic and entertaining dance spectacle.
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Even so, plot, acting and a believable romance aren’t exactly the reason people flock to dance flicks; it’s the limb-flinging, body-popping dance numbers that are the main attraction with these films, and StreetDance delivers enough intensely energetic, electrifying and progressively creative set-pieces to completely eclipse any flaws in the movie’s foundation. Thankfully the talent show celebrities on-screen are used to great effect, mostly because directors Giwa and Pasquini are wise enough to realise they’re dancers, not actors, and highlights their talents rather than burden them with dialogue. Dance group Flawless cut an imposing presence as wildly talented (and entirely silent) rival group The Surge and even George Sampson (who I couldn’t stand during Britain’s Got Talent) impresses without making me want to bludgeon him with a coat rack. The film is jam-packed with amazingly fun dance sequences, from ballet versus street dance showdowns to grandiose, show-stopping, back-flipping competition performances, all choreographed with dynamite energy and astonishing precision.

With all the reality TV stars in the cast you’d be forgiven for assuming that the film is a quickly thrown together fan-service cash-grab, but you can suppress any harrowing, nightmarish flashbacks to From Justin To Kelly; StreetDance is an incredible amount of fun and a fantastic showcase for the dance talent assembled. For all the ‘Britain’s answer to Step Up’ posturing, it’s as American as apple pie served up on the Declaration of Independence by Colonel Sanders himself, embracing all the colourful, cheesy, wholesome energy of the High School Musical franchise. Nonetheless, it’s astoundingly fun and something dance movie fans are sure to love, even if it’s nothing they haven’t seen before.
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On the Blu-ray:

The Blu-ray comes with the choice to watch the film in 2D or 3D, care of included 3D cardboard red-blue tinted specs. Naturally the cardboard glasses effect can’t hope to contend with current cinema quality 3D, and the anaglyph 3D is a brain-raping migraine just waiting to happen. If your tolerance for red-blue 3D is as low as mine, you’ll want to skip the gimmicky added dimension and watch the 2D version instead. It’s a clear, colourful and impressive visual transfer, and thankfully there’s very little ‘stuff flying at your eyeballs’ gimmickry in the film, aside from a food fight scene, so the 2D experience is just as fun and not remotely jarring or marred by colour-tinting.

Though there’s a fairly large selection of extras, they’re rather disappointing on the whole. There’s a 30 minute ‘Making Of’ feature, an ‘On Set of StreetDance’ featurette clocking in at 12 minutes long, a 3 minute ‘Premiere Footage’ segment and a short ‘On Tour’ featurette, but even collectively they offer no real insight beyond the expected talking heads interview pieces and diverting, but unenlightening behind-the-scenes footage. An ‘Anatomy of a Scene’ feature breaks down the film’s introduction to the ballet characters with a little added detail, and is a fairly interesting watch, though an odd choice for analysis considering the more elaborately designed scenes in the film.

Rounding out the set are Diversity’s sequence from the film and their performance from the National Movie Awards.

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StreetDance 3D is available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK now.
Click here to order the Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk.

(Note: The images above were captured and saved at a reduced size and quality, and though they give an idea of how the film looks, they aren’t intended to reflect the true quality of the Blu-ray image itself.)