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Review: Street Dance 2

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The 'dance flick' formula has enjoyed an uprising of meteoric proportions. So over-populated was this corner of Hollywood, it even got its own parody movie in the shape of Dance Flick.

First conceived in the cushy, emotionally manipulative womb of Save The Last Dance, ballerinas and B-boys have been claiming to have never worked together ever since. To their cries of indignation, their claims of marred artistic integrity, their attachment to the sanctity of their chosen dance form, the blatantly elevated socio-political differences and difficulties their inherently diverse backgrounds incur... I would like to answer: Save The Last Dance 2, Fame, Step Up, Step Up 2 the Streets, Stomp The Yard, Honey, Honey 2, Street Dance.

Ballerinas and B-Boys are having a not-so-secret sordid dance affair. There's no point denying it any more, you wiggling, locking and popping liars. So one must wonder, on the eve of Street Dance 2, whether anyone still has the appetite for yet more young hip-hoppers finding the road to dance martyrdom a rocky-yet-surprisingly-easily-conquerable one? Or will it be just about as entertaining as watching a hamster with George Sampson's face whizz round a never-ending wheel of hip-hop predictability?

Luckily, I endured Street Dance 2 so you don't have to. I would have paid good money to watch George Sampson's hamster counterpart to wear out his gangly legs on a hip-hop hamster wheel of doom. I would not pay good money (or possibly even bad money) to sit through Street Dance 2 again. But before I spit bile for the next few paragraphs, let me salve the critical wounds a little, by first bringing you the excellent news that the hip-hoppers are not, this time, invaded by bags of bones in tights (ballerinas). This time, the insane kinaesthetic coupling is that of street dance and latin dance! Woah, didn't see that one coming in Dirty Dancing 2. That definitely hasn't happened before in Go For It! Nope, you are so right, Street Dance 2, you have truly done what (and I quote) 'nobody's done before'. Except hundreds of students a week in the Latin Street classes at Pineapple Dance Studios. But apart from them, yup, that's some groundbreaking fusion.

Within the ingenious framework of mushing together dance styles, the narrative is predictably trite. When young, muscle-bound upstart Ash (Falk Hentschel) is humiliated by the dance crew 'Invincible' (by name and by nature as we are incessantly reminded), young whippersnapper Eddie (George Sampson) makes it his mission to manage this budding hip-hop protégé, find him the crew to end all crews, and win the next big competition in Paris, thus sticking it to Invincible the best way they know how.

Miraculously, despite being a penniless dancer, and about 12 (facially), Eddie and Ash embark on a montage road trip over every inch of Europe, picking up all of Eddie's European dance mates along the way - ah, what fun, expensive capers... Eddie's Daddy must have a very slutty trust fund. Naturally, they instantly gel and punch each other repeatedly in the arm while silently laughing to demonstrate it. Such hip-hop bliss!

But Eddie throws a dance spanner in the works when he tries to convince the other crew members that the sure-fire way to hip-hop glory is to include Latin dance in their routine. Enter Eva (Sofia Boutella): a firey salsa dancer, who is frankly far too hot for this movie. So hot, I wasn't even jealous, just in a constant state of quasi-lesbian arousal. Eva and her Latina buddies are the only reason you could deign this film watchable: the street dance is so-so, never quite living up to the incredible hip-hop heights reached in Stomp The Yard et al, but the salsa is mind blowing.

If you're more Marc Antony and lycra than Snoop Dogg and baggies, it'll push all the right buttons. Naturally, the crew are initially resistant to the tush-wiggling, emotional leanings of salsa, just as Eva is initially resistant to the cheesy romantic advances of Ash. Yet, with some help from a comedy French Uncle (Tom Conti - I'm so very sorry, Tom Conti, that you had to be in this movie, please sack your agent immediately), and some more bonding and arm punching and silent laughter, they pull through. I shan't spoil the ending for you- you can do that in your own minds without my help.

I'm sure Street Dance 2 will appeal to a certain quota of Bieber-loving tweens, easily satisfied by a PG flash of six pack, and hero with a heart. It may even appeal to a certain quota of salsa obsessives, or dance school west-end Wendieseasily enticed by anything that moves in formation. But if you value quality acting, 3D that is more than a string of gimmicks don't even get me stared on the gratuitous, set-up-for-3D pillow fight), scripts that aren't worthy of The Disney Channel alone, and Tom Conti's credibility... Save your money, and take a trip to Pineapple Dance Studios instead: sit outside the Latin Street class, and remain safe in the knowledge that you will be about 10 times more culturally fulfilled.