Step Up 5: All In (PG)
Running time: 112 minutes
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Izabella Miko, Misha Gabriel, Stephen Stevo Jones, Chadd Smith, Facundo Lombard, Martin Lombard, Karin Konoval, Frank Crudele.
Director: Trish Sie.
Released: August 1 (UK & Ireland)
TOWARDS the conclusion of this plot-light fifth instalment of the body-popping franchise, the buff hero stands before his crew and laments the soul-destroying existence of a dancer.
It's a hard knock life: attending auditions where female dancers slink by like cats on heat, shooting him lustful glances; ricocheting from one dance-off with an amazing top prize to the next, flanked by amazing performers who can quit their day jobs at the twitch of a pec; getting the girl he wants with a shake of his hips.
Our hearts bleed.
Or they would if the leading man possessed charisma to complement his jaw-dropping physique.
Sadly, Ryan Guzman plays his dreamer as an almost expressionless block of marble, whose hunger for success drives away many of the people who, inexplicably, love him.
It's written in the stars of Trish Sie's film that his leading lady will fall under his spell but there's scant evidence on screen to convince us he is worthy of her affections.
Sean (Guzman) and his crew The Mob, which includes best friend Eddy (Misha Gabriel), have moved to Los Angeles but the work has dried up after the lucrative TV commercial they won at the end of Step Up 4.
A fight about overdue rent ends with The Mob and Sean going their separate ways.
"This crew's not ready for LA," Eddy tells him.
Sean reaches out to old friend Moose (Adam G Sevani), who lands Sean a job as a handyman at the ballroom dance studio run by his grandparents Boris (Frank Kudele) and Ana (Karin Konoval).
It's only temporary because Sean immediately his sights on a televised dance contest called The Vortex hosted by pop starlet Alexxa Brava (Izabella Miko).
First prize is a lucrative three-year contract in Las Vegas.
Moose uses his connections to recruit a new crew including Andie (Briana Evigan) from Step Up 2 The Streets, robotic dancer Vladd (Chadd Smith) and The Santiago Twins (Facundo and Martin Lombard).
LMNTRIX, as they are christened, prepare for battle but arch-rival Jasper Tarik (Stephen Stevo Jones) and his well-drilled crew The Grim Knights stand in their way.
Step Up 5: All In resembles a series of glossy music videos, stitched together with gossamer thin plot threads.
Parallel love stories are sickly sweet and the big twist is revealed in a laughably heavy-handed fashion.
Guzman and Evigan are an attractive yet dull pairing while Miko appears to have raided the dress-up box of Effie from The Hunger Games.
Thankfully, the film's choreographers are in rude form, contriving a mad professor's laboratory set piece as well as a thrilling final dance-off that incorporates swinging chandeliers, a sand pit and twirling fire batons.
On the dance floor at least, Sie's film works its magic.