The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney/Touchstone - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Briana Evigan, Robert Hoffmann, Will Kermp, Cassie Ventura
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Music by: Aaron Zigman
Written by: Toni Ann Johnson & Karen Barna
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 15, 2008
"Takin' it to the Streets"
When a street savvy girl with untrained talent teams up with a virtuoso modern dancer to compete in anunderground dance-off, sparks fly both on and off the dance floor! Street kid Andie (Briana Evigan) wins a slot at the elite Maryland School of the Arts, but finds herself fighting to fit in with her privilegedclassmates while also trying to hold onto her old life. But when she joins forces with the school's hottest dancer, Chase (Robert Hoffman), to form a crew of fellow academy outcasts to compete in Baltimore's
underground dance battle, The Streets, she ultimately finds a way to live her dream while building a bridge between her two separate worlds.
You don't have to be a fan of Hip Hop music or break style dance to appreciate the level of talent displayed by the dancers in this follow up to 2006's Step Up. Step Up 2 The Streets features lots of pulsating hip hop rhythms and extensive dance routines that are truly mesmerizing to watch. That is where the strength of the film lies. The theme of the story has been done before and is built around Andie (Briana Evigan) who is a young, talented but raw street dancer. Her mother passed away recently and she has been living with her mother's close friend who promised to keep her on the right track in life. Andie gets into hot water because of her involvement with the 410 a local street dance crew. They pull off an elaborate video prank that ends up making the evening news. Andie is given an ultimatum that she is to enter the Maryland School of Arts or be forced to move to Texas. She auditions for the prestigious school and gets in but has trouble adapting to the style of dance as well as the atmosphere in the school. Robert Hoffmann co-stars as an MSA student who can see Andie's potential as both a dancer and individual. They team up (in more ways than one) with several others at the school who feel like misfits and prepare to enter Baltimore's underground dance battle known as The Streets. Tensions mount between Andie's new crew and her old one the 410 which ends up in a showdown at The Streets.
The cast performances were less than inspiring however I don't think that this film is geared toward great acting. Its focus is definitely on the dance and music set pieces which are very good. The ending is a little on the warm and fuzzy side but I had no problem with that.
Parental Guide:The rating is for language, suggestive material, and brief violence. This one should be fine for young teens and above.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Step Up 2 The Streets comes to Blu-ray Disc from Touchstone/Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 mbps and lossless Uncompressed 5.1 PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 6.9 mbps.
The video presentation was a bit different than I had anticipated after seeing the trailer for Step Up on Blu-ray. It didn't exhibit the resolute sharpness and finely rendered detail of the best I have seen from the format. It wasn't soft by any means and there was plenty of visible detail and dimensionality. It just didn't have the vibrancy and refined quality to the video that gives it that peering through a window effect. Colors were natural in tonality but were de-saturated which made them appear less stimulating to the eye. Flesh tones were rendered with plenty of detectable variation and lifelike texture. Contrast was on the lower end and blacks exhibited a slight crushing effect. This impacted the perception of detail within dark scenes and backgrounds. This only negatively affected a few scenes though. The final dance sequence which took place on the street at night in the rain had plenty of depth of field and looked quite good. Noise was non existent and grain appeared only on occasion and was never intrusive.
The theme of this film begged for a dynamic and punchy soundtrack. I was pleased to find that it made great use of its strengths which lied in the quality of its dialogue, and low frequency reproduction. As soon as the menu screen appeared and played a short audio clip I knew that bass response was going to be strong. The pulsating and rhythmic beat of the hip hop and R&B music numbers provided extended bass that was tactilely rich, tight and room filling. The mix used only the front three channels and subwoofer during the music/dance numbers. The sound stage didn't reach far into the room but had tight focus and a full sounding dynamic quality that had lots of pop. The surrounds saw limited use but sounded enveloping as they blended seamlessly with the front sound field. I found myself on several occasions tapping my toe to beat of this excellent lossless audio soundtrack.
** It should be noted that the disc case lists a lossless English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track however the lossless audio is offered in Uncompressed 5.1 PCM.**
The Bonus supplements focused primarily on the dance aspects of the film and should appeal to those who share that interest. The making of feature, Through Fresh Eyes, is a 12 minute documentary that looks at first time feature film Director Jon M. Chu. It includes background on him which includes interviews with his parents, behind the scenes footage from the production, and insights from some of the staff and cast. The outtakes and Deleted scenes with director introduction were mildly entertaining at best. The Outlaws of Hip Hop, meet 410 feature takes a look at the dancers who were cast in the film and features interviews with some of them as well as the main choreographer for the dance numbers. I found that to be interesting as it highlighted the choreography and rehearsing of the moves used in the film. There are 5 music videos featuring artists such as Missy Elliott, Low, Brit & Alex and more. There is an Easter Egg included which is titled Post wrap dancing which features the dancers/cast showing off their best on the dance club set featured in the film. Last but not least if my personal favorite. The Lead Actor Robert Hoffmann video prank was shot at a local mini mart and is definitely a must see.
- (HD) Through Fresh eyes: The making of Step Up 2 The Streets
- (HD) Outlaws of Hip Hop meet 410 - Featurette
- (HD) Lead Actor Robert Hoffmann video prank
- (HD) (8)Deleted scenes and outtakes with director Jon M. Chu introduction
- 5 Music videos featuring various Hip Hop artists
- (HD) Easter Egg : Post Wrap Dancing
I enjoyed Step up 2 the Streets for its superlative dance numbers and display of physical talent. As a film it was just average but the combination of the two made it a more palatable experience. I found the audio/video quality to be solid and the bonus features an added plus. This may not be Disney's strongest effort from a technical perspective but it surely doesn't disappoint. Its day and date release on Blu-ray high definition and DVD is sure to please fans.
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