Street Dance 2 3D has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor Streetdance 3D took the box office by storm in 2010, making the most of the popularity of George Sampson, Flawless and Diversity after their recent television successes. Street Dance 2, the sequel, is back with Sampson and Flawless, but no Diversity, and a fresh cast comprised of some of the world’s top street dancers.
All Street Dance and Too Much Flavour have been bringing you exclusive behind the scenes photos and info since filming started, and now the finished film is almost upon us we took a sneak preview ahead of its release on 30 March.
Street Dance 2 goes straight into the dance action with the opening scenes in the heat of a battle. We see Invincible Crew take on BirdGang (well, we don’t actually get to see BirdGang dance, but we know it’s them in their unmistakable crew shirts) and then laugh our leading man Ash (Falk Hentschel) off stage as he fails to take on the American champions. Eddie (George Sampson) spots his potential and offers to be his manager and then we are instantly following the pair on a whirlwind tour of Europe to gather the very best dancers from each country to form a super crew. A great idea, but it does feel like the Panini sticker album approach to forming a crew.
Street Dance 2 Crew?
There are too many spares and you end up with ones that you don’t really know who they are for the whole thing. Nevertheless, it’s good to see popular character Lil Steph make a return as the first member of the crew recruited. We get to see Skorpion doing his unfeasibly bendy thing in a supermarket. And we dare you not to raise a smile at the t-shirt Ali (Lilou) is wearing when he is recruited. But for nearly all of the dancers this is the most you get to see of them in action. It feels like such a waste.
The pace of the film doesn’t allow for character development let alone crew development and we are immediately in Paris with less than two weeks to go before the big battle, Clash of The Year. Where the first film reflected the dancers’ struggle to find and afford rehearsal space, here we must suspend disbelief to think that popcorn seller Ash and sandwich boy Eddie have somehow found the money to pay for the whole crew to travel to Paris and stay there for two weeks. But we’ll buy that. Mainly because of Tom Conti, who steals the entire film without having to dance a jot (well, almost a jot) as the uncle of Ash’s Latin love interest salsa dancer, Eva.
The Street Dance Two
Sofia Boutella is brooding and sexy as Eva, you can understand why Ash would be captivated by her, although it is difficult to understand what she might ever see in him. Hentschel is no Ukweli Roach. Whilst Roach may not have had a significant amount of screen time in the first movie, his dandy good looks and swagger ensured the poster for the film featured heavily on teenaged walls. Hentschel doesn’t have that heart-throb quality and his lack of swag is painful throughout the movie rather than endearing. Although his acting can’t be faulted and he does amuse through his attempts to win over Eva’s disapproving uncle, culminating in a chilli eating contest with Conti’s character.
But the biggest battle is reserved for the dance floor, where Eva must teach Ash and his crew salsa to create a new fusion that will floor rival crew Invincible at Clash of The Year. This is where the film may irritate any dancer audience members, as it shows the motley crew of b-boys and poppers being utterly dismissive of the Latin dance. There are very few, if any, dancers worth their salt who would choose to deride a dancer of another style. Street dance as a genre has roots in Latin street dances and to show street dancers as ignorant of this is a cheap shot.
Video: Sofia Boutella Street Dance 2 interview
There are the compulsory dancing in parks and solo tortured soul montages from both leads and ensemble and a special guest appearance from Flawless, reprising their role as The Surge with a fierce club routine, before we reach the final clash. Of course we get some heart-stopping drama ahead of the battle scene and Eva turns up and saves the day in a rather underwhelming way. Boutella’s amazing dance ability is lost in the epic scale of the 3D film making. But i’m still rooting for Tom Conti all the way through.
It is satisfying to see Akai given a bigger part after his cameo was squeezed into the first film. Something in me wishes they had dispensed with this film and made the one about how Akai got to be so good, his lines are perfectly delivered and his dancing delights. Perhaps the next Street Dance movie needs to focus on the next generation because this current move certainly doesn’t seem to have the level of box office appeal that made the original such a hit.