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Step Up 2 The Streets

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Language, Some Suggestive Material and Brief Violence)

Running Time: 98 Minutes

Starring: Brianna Evigan, Robert Hoffman, Will Kemp, Cassie Ventura

Written by: Toni Ann Johnson and Karen Barina

Based on characters created by: Duane Adler

Directed by: John M. Chu

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director John M. Chu, Music Videos, Through Fresh Eyes: The Making Of Step Up 2, Outlaws Of Hip Hop: Meet The 410, Robert Hoffman Video Prank

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (12 Chapters)

Released: July 15th, 2008

 

 

"Step Up 2 The Streets" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and its a pretty visually arresting transfer. Other than some edge halos, noise and a blemish here and there (plus very slight edge enhancement), there's a lot to like here. Detail is excellent, fleshtones are accurate and there's a sharpness to the transfer. Color saturation is most impressive, even when director John M. Chu imposes the use of filters. Colors are bold and vibrant, and don't smear, and really pop out. This is a really strong transfer, that definitely captures the slick, urban style of the film. 

 

Of course, the highlight of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix comes from the musical numbers. The pop/hip-hop songs have a broad soundstage and fill out the speakers nicely, with strong dynamics and deep bass. All the other sound elements in the mix do their job: the sounds of the Maryland streets are subtly fit into the background, dialogue is clear and easy to hear and Aaron Zigman's score has a fine presence. And other than in the songs, the subwoofer gets a pretty good workout throughout the movie.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also included in French and Spanish. There are also subtitles in English, French and Spanish, plus English closed captions that can be accessed through your TV.  

 



Starting the disc off are eight Deleted Scenes, with Optional Commentary by Director John M. Chu. The "commentary" might be a little misleading, as Chu actually introduces the scene. Nonetheless, the incredibly enthusiastic helmer gives his reasonings for the cuts. Other than some dance sequences, there are some interesting character moments that were trimmed. The scenes total over 16 minutes, and I think fans of the movie will like what they see here.

Of course, a big appeal of the movie is the soundtrack, and you get five Music Videos. The videos include the smash hit "Low" from Flo Rida featuring T-Pain, "Ching-A-Ling" from Missy Elliot, "Killa" by Cherish featuring Yung Joc, "Hypnotized" by Piles featuring Akon and "Let It Go" by Brit & Alex. There's also a music video performed by Cassie for the song "Is It You?", under the title "Outtakes." I don't know why it's called Outtakes - as the video features clips from the movie, and not any deleted material. Maybe this was a song that ultimately didn't make the cut?

Through Fresh Eyes: The Making Of Step Up 2 focuses on director John M. Chu, and lasts a little over 12 minutes. Chu mentions he wanted to be an animator until he got a hold of his parents video camera, and we even see some footage shot by the young Chu and thoughts from his doting parents. From there, Chu talks about the themes of the film as plenty of behind-the-scenes footage is shown, and his vision to make this an electric dance movie. The actors/dancers also chime in, but really, this is all about Chu. I was very impressed by the filmmaker's vision and passion, not to mention his positive attitude. An engaging piece.

Outlaws Of Hip Hop: Meet The 410 is a 5 minute featurette on the dancers in the movie. Chu gives some thoughts, but this piece is all about the dancers. The dancers/actors give their thoughts on the craft, as does the film's choreographer, Hi-Hat. Footage from the set and rehearsals are shown, and all the energy and effort all these talented performers put in really paid off.

Last but not least, is a Robert Hoffman Video Prank. Hoffman and other people in a convenient store literally freeze before breaking out into a short dance and then returning to normal. This would probably be more entertaining if I hadn't seen a similar prank happen in New York's Grand Central Terminal.
 
 

"Step Up 2 The Streets" is downright corny, but this being a complete guilty pleasure is alleviated by the fantastic dance sequences, an appealing cast and the energy director John M. Chu brings to the proceedings. The DVD should appeal to the movie's fans: a fine 5.1 mix, a superb transfer and very apt supplements that complement the movie. Recommended, if this kind of movie gets you up and moving.