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Step Up 3: Blu-ray + DVD (a J!-ENT Blu-ray review)

December 11, 2010 by  



If you enjoyed the previous two “Step Up” films, “Step Up 3” goes even further by featuring phenomenal choreography and a stylish presentation that looks great on Blu-ray.  Also, featuring a wonderful soundtrack!  If you love dancing films, then “Step Up 3” is must buy!

Images courtesy of © Buena Vista Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Step Up 3: Blu-ray + DVD

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 107 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit), French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Touchstone Home Entertainment

RATED: RATED PG-13 (For Brief Strong Language)

Release Date: December 21, 2010

Directed by Jon M. Chu

Written by Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer

Characters by Duane Adler

Executive Producer: Bob Hayward, Meredith Milton, David Nicksay

Producer: Erik Feig, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger

Co-Producer: Amy Herman

Production Executive: Todd Y. Murata

Music by Bear McCreary

Cinematography by Ken Seng

Casting by Joanna Colbert, Richard Mento

Production Design by Devora Herbert

Art Direction by Mario Ventenilla

Set Decoration by Regina Graves

Costume Design by Kurt and Bart

Starring:

Rick Malambri as Luke

Adam G. Sevani as Moose

Sharni Vinson as Natalie

Alyson Stoner as Camille

Keith Stallworth as Jacob

Kendra Andrews as Anala

Stephen “tWitch” Boss as Jason

Martin and Facudon Lombard as the Santiago Twins

Oren Michaeli as Carlos

Joe Slaughter as Julian

Daniel “Cloud” Campos as Kid Darkness

Chadd “Madd Chadd” Smith as Vladd

Britney “B” Thomas as B.

Terrance Harrison as Radius

Jonathan “Legacy” Perez as Legz

Jaime Burgos III as Mohawk

Ivan “Flipz” Velez as Spinz

Ashlee Nino as Stix

Tamara Levinson as Bend

Ricardo “Boogie Frantick” Rodriguez Jr. as Wave

Mari Koda as Jenny Kido

Harry Shum Jr. as Cable

Christopher Scott as Hair

Luis Rosado as Monster

LaJon “Lil Duda” Dantzler as Smiles

Janelle Cambridge as Fly

The story itself centers on a pair of gritty street dance squads facing off in the World Jam, a high-stakes showdown that is the hip-hop Olympics and revolves around two couples – Moose and Camille (Adam G. Sevani and Alyson Stoner, from Step Up 2 and Step Up respectively), and new characters Luke and Natalie (Rick Malambri and Sharni Vinson). New York’s intense underground street dancing comes alive in Blu-ray 3D when this tight knit group of street dancers (Malambri, Vinson) team up with Moose (Sevani) and find themselves pitted against the world’s best hip hop dancers in a gravity defying dance exhibition battle that will change their lives forever.

In 2006, the dance/romance film “Step Up” was born and it was a box office success with a budget of $12 million, “Step Up” would bring in $114 million worldwide.

So, with the financial success of the first film, it was not surprising that a sequel  in 2008 titled “Step Up 2: The Streets” would be made and directing the film would be dancer and filmmaker John Chu (“Silent Beats”, “When the Kids Are Away”, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”).  Like its predecessor, the film would make a lot of money and surpass the first film by bringing over $148 million.

And in 2010, John Chu returned as the director but this time bringing the third film to the big screen in 3D and to keep continuity with the first two films, “Step Up 3” would bring back actress Camille Gage (Alyson Stoner) from the first film and Adam Sevani (Moose) from the second film as new students at New York University.  And once again, like the previous two films, shot with a budget of $30 million, the third film would rake in $159 million worldwide.

And now, “Step Up 3” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on December 21st.  On Blu-ray, there will be two versions available, “Step Up 3” will be released in 3D (for those with 3D enabled Blu-ray players and TV sets) and normal Blu-ray on Blu-ray and DVD.

“Step Up 3” is a film that focus on three-related storylines.  The first focuses on the friendship between Moose (played by Adam Sevani) and Camille (played by Alyson Stoner, “Camp Rock” films, “Phineas and Ferb”).  The two have grown up with each other and now both will be attending New York University.  Because the two are best friends, they want to enjoy their life as students together and are often mistaken as a couple.

Moose loves to dance but he promised his parents (who is putting a lot of their money into their son’s education) that he will focus on his engineering degree.  But on the first day of student orientation, he accidentally gets himself dragged into a dance battle and humiliates Kid Darkness, one of the premiere dancers of the House of Samurai Dance Crew.

Meanwhile, as he is dancing, he is being taped by a guy named Luke, who happens to be the leader of a dance crew known as “The House of the Pirates”.  Luke and his group want Moose to join them and be part of the House of Pirates and prepare for the World Jam Dance contest.  And because he humiliated Kid Darkness, he will become a target of the House of Samurai Dance Crew.

Despite telling himself he wants to quit dancing, dancing is too much of a passion for Moose that he joins the House of Pirates but his friend Camille is unaware of why her best friend is ditching her all the time and is saddened that the promise they made of being together is not being fulfilled.  Also, how will Moose deal with college when the crew expects him to be training for the dance competition during his classes?

The second storyline features the character of Luke (played by Rick Malambri, “Surrogates”, “Universal Soldiers”).  A filmmaker and the leader of the House of Pirates.  He also owns the building/warehouse which houses the dancers of the House of Pirates and as a promise to his dead parents, he wants to keep the building open.  So, people can train to dance and have a place to hang out and party.  But the building’s rent has not been paid for six months and is in danger of closing.  And so the motivation for his dancers are to win the $100,000 grand prize to keep the warehouse open and they know they need more dancers for the competition to take on their rivals, the House of Samurai.

The third storyline focuses on Luke and a dancer that he has fallen for.  Her name is Natalie (played by Sharni Vinson, “Home and Away”) and he has been attracted to her for quite awhile.  He gives Natalie a place to stay and the two grow closer together and eventually fall for each other.  With the addition of Moose, Natalie also joins the House of Pirates.  But what Luke doesn’t know is that Natalie is the sister of Julien (played by Joe Slaughter), the leader of the House of Samurai and Natalie was sent by him to spy on the House of Pirates dance crew.  But can Natalie hurt the House of Pirates after she has grown close to them and has become one of them?  Can she hurt Luke now that she has fallen in love with him?

VIDEO:

“Step Up 3” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1) and the first thing that came to my mind is how vibrant this film looks.  From the various shots of New York City to the use of color featured in the film, I was pretty impressed by the overall look and set design.  In the film, there is an interesting use of light and costume design and CG work which I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t watch the film.  A little TRON-esque but I was digging it!

There is a lot of detail that is seen from the building sets, the closeups of the Nike vintage shoes to the characters and more.  I did notice some occasional banding on scenes where there was a lot of red.  But for the most part, picture quality is pretty fantastic and I noticed no blemishes, artifacts, combing, crush, etc.  Blacks were nice and deep and colors just pop!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Step Up 3” features an English 7.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit) lossless soundtrack.  Also, presented in French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1.  Dialogue and music is crystal clear and for low frequency, although not an action film, it’s definitely a film that is driven by its music from Flo Rida (feat. David Guetta), Trey Songz, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, Sofia Fresh (feat. T-Pain), Wisn y Yandel and more.  Bass is continually pumpin’ and you could hear the resonance through your subwoofers when you hear that LFE.  Because of the 7.1 track, there is also use of surroound and rear surround throughout the film.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Step Up 3” comes with the following special features:

  • Born from a Boombox: A Luke Katcher Film – (11:51) The full “Born from a Boombox” film that the character Luke shot with interviews of the House of Pirates dancers.
  • Extra Moves – (7:20) Behind-the-scenes of “Step Up 3” with the making of the various dance scenes throughout the film and featuring the various music from the film.
  • Deleted Scenes – (23:57) Featuring optional intros by director Jon M. Chu.  Featuring eight deleted scenes.
  • Music Videos – Featuring the following music videos: “Club Can’t Handle Me” – Flo Rida feat. David Guetta, “My Own Step (Theme from Stepup 3D)” by Roscoe Dash and T-Pain feat. Fabo, “Already Taken” by Trey Songz, “This Girl” by Laza Morgan, “This Instant” by Sophia Fresh feat. T-Pain, “No Te Quero (Remix)” by Sophia Del Carmen feat. Pitbull, “Irresistible” by Wisin y Yandel, “Spirit of the Radio” by Jrandall.
  • Making of the Music Videos – (7:15) The music talent talk about the making of their music videos.

EXTRAS:

“Step Up 3” comes with a slip cover case and along with the Blu-ray, a DVD is included.  The DVD is presented in widescreen (1:78:1 – enhanced for 16×9 televisions).  Audio is in English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

When it comes to dancing films, I know that there are film critics who just can’t get into them.  But for me, I absolutely enjoy watching the choreography of these films and seeing how far they can take it to the next level.

For me, the “Step Up” and “Stomp the Yard” films are known for their choreography and the plots are typically hit or miss with the viewer.  For “Step Up 3”, I absolutely enjoyed the film, its plot, the music and the choreography.  Having friends who are part of the dancing scene, the dance battles and also into collecting those special edition, vintage Nike shoes, I enjoyed the integration of it into this film.  But while the dancing and the battles are a constant theme of these films, “Step Up 3” is a pretty stylish film.

I have to admit that at first, seeing Rick Malambri as the male star of the film, I felt he was too clean cut for someone to be part of street dancing.  Someone you would see as more fashion model than someone who would lead a dance crew but everything worked out quite well.  Especially since the film incorporates so many characters, it helps when you have returning characters like Adam G. Sevani and Alyson Stoner as part of the film and the addition of Australian actress Sharni Vinson was quite interesting because similar to Rick Malambri, the first things that cross your mind is “can these two dance?”.  And sure enough, both pulled it off.

Also, it helps by by surrounding the two talents with a plethora of dancing talent and according to director Jon M. Chu, over 250 talented dancers were part of this film and these dancers are among the top dancers in the world.  So, if anything, these dancers help compliment the talent and also because of the additional dance talent, we are seeing various styles of dancing being incorporated to this third film that we haven’t seen in the previous two films.

And in many ways, I like the “So You think You Can Dance” style of mentality brought to this film by bringing these talent known for a certain style of dancing and then getting to learn various styles of choreography and each of these talented individuals have pulled it off.  The dancing of this film is phenomenal and for those who are passionate about dancing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they rewind and play various scenes over and over and be in awe by it.

As for the overall plot, yeah…there is a banality to it.  Goals to win contest money to save a club, to save one’s hide.  Lover’s betrayal and one being too occupied with other things and not being there for love ones.  Yeah, it’s been done many times before but it works for this film.  Adam G. Sevani and Alyson Stoner have great chemistry and they bring in a young and enjoyable vibe to this film.  While Malambri and Sevani bring the more sexual and romantic aspect to the film.

Also, I loved the cinematography and bringing that New York vibe to this film.  Also, loved how the colors were utilized and it’s a vibrant film that really looks great on Blu-ray!  And of course, the music is pretty awesome.  From the characters of Luke and Moose traveling through New York with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind” blaring through your front channel speakers to Flo Rida and David Guetta playing during a pretty cool dance scene and there are many more scenes with cool music, awesome choreography and memorable moments.

The Blu-ray release has pretty awesome PQ and the music is more of the dominant factor for audio, while dialogue and music is crystal clear, there is some usage of the surround and rear surround channels.  But it’s the music that dominates the soundspace.  Also, there are good number of special features that feature more dancing scenes and dancers that were cut out of the film due to pacing and making the scenes flow.

As mentioned, there are two versions of this film being released on Blu-ray.  For those with a 3D Blu-ray player and 3D enabled television, you can purchase “Step Up 3D”.  While those who don’t have the 3D hardware or don’t care for 3D can purchase the Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.

Overall, I know that dance films are not for everyone.  But for those who love street dancing, “Step Up 3” is a pretty enjoyable film and the choreography was phenomenal.  If you enjoyed the previous two films, I definitely recommend “Step Up 3”.






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