For people who did not manage to catch Street Dance 3D (2010), it should come as good news that this sequel has no relation with its predecessor- other than two returning acts, Flawless and George Sampson. Street Dance 2 uses the dance scene in Europe as its backdrop, introducing a number of dances and adopting pretty much the same pattern as Street Dance 3D. However, compared to the original, this movie has a greater focus, which is to showcase the fusion of street dance with a popular Latin dance form, salsa.
The storyline, albeit cheesy, has a lot more punch and is more focused, centred as it is around a distraught Ash (Falk Hentshel) who after failing terribly at a dance battle is scouted by Eddie (George Sampson). The duo subsequently comb all over Europe for the best dancers to form their dance crew, with the aim of beating the 'Invincibles'. They chanced upon a salsa dancer Eva (Sofia Boutella), who eventually became crucial to their success. In between, there is some drama here and there, including the obligatory love story. However, those looking for some sparks will likely be disappointed, as the romance is as clichéd as it gets.
Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, the movie does have the charms a dance movie ought to have, which are essentially supported by the dance sequences and the music. For instance, the difficulty of combining salsa and street dance was brought out through how Ash acquired the steps by taking lessons from Eva. A street dancer, who is trained to express himself as freely as he could, now needs to be disciplined and take into consideration of a partner to display elegance and passion. All these are complimented with a good mix of contemporary groovy dance mixes that engages the audience into the performance.
Also, to-watch-out-for is Sofia Boutella, who makes her feature film debut here. The French hip-hop dancer takes on a whole new different dance form yet shows no sign of being an amateur and comes off as a complete natural- certainly one of the highlights of the film.
As you would probably expect, Ash will end up being the hero who overcomes and emerges from his past failure to prove his worth. The grand finale is undoubtedly the climax of the whole visual experience. The dance routines were electrifying, a definite treat for all. The joy from the triumph was also very genuine and contagious.
Still, what remains as a really shortcoming for dance movies is its limited appeal for the uninitiated- perhaps a more solid-packed storyline and drama would enable it to broaden its appeal.