Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

‘Save the Last Dance 2’ is my ninth Straight to Video sequel in 5 days. Why would anybody do this themselves? Unfortunately for me I have little choice in the matter as this cursed television show is doing a straight to video sequel show and these movies have to be watched, and I still have more I have to see. There are two things which keep this show afloat with the first being Steven Seagal movies and the second being Straight to Video sequels of theatrically released movies that didn’t need sequels. Man… ‘Into the Blue 2’ and ‘Legally Blondes’ are in serious trouble of not getting watched if I can’t shake the residue off from watching this one.

Cutie pie Izabella Miko fills the icy shoes of Julia Stiles as the character of Sarah who is off to New York City to attend Julliard and start her glorious career as a prima ballerina. There is so little that connects Ms. Miko’s interpretation of the character of Sarah to Ms. Stiles presentation that they really could’ve and probably should’ve called this movie something else. What does link the two characters are Sarah’s struggle between classical dance and hip hop, a quick shot of Terry Kinney as Sarah’s wayward dad and mention of Sarah’s mom’s unfortunate meeting with a tanker. Derek is gone too, after going through all that trouble in the first movie to get this chick, he’s done up and gone off to medical school to ‘date other people’. Asshole.

Fortunately for Sarah there is no shortage of good looking talented Black guys chasing her as we get to meet Miles (Columbus Short) a visiting professor of Hip-Hop theory, classical pianist, crazy spinning DJ and virtuoso composer. Actually Miles’ race is neither here nor there since this movie has thrown out the racial tension of the first film in favor of other far less interesting tensions. Miles is quickly impressed with Sarah’s hip hop skillz as she shows the incredibly hostile, but crazy hot hip hop dancestress Candy (Tre Armstrong) how this whole hip hop dance things is suppose to be done. Actually she doesn’t but the movie tells us she did so we’re rolling with that. And actress Tre Armstrong is physically perfect from top of her beautiful head to the tips of her toes. Of course I didn’t get the opportunity to see her toes (saw Miko’s though) but I’m visualizing those toes right now and what I’m seeing is outstanding.

Back on point, Sarah now has a dilemma as she has become the apple of the eye of her taskmaster of a dance teacher, the renown Ms. Monique (the renown Jacqueline Bisset) but is torn between her love of hip hop dance and her love of Miles. How this love found a way to develop is beyond me because they didn’t spend a lot of time developing this love. I mean all the dude did was buy her a cannoli and the next thing you know they’re engaging in premarital relations so it guess it must be love. Note to self: Stock fridge full of cannoli’s. The question is can this tiny woman have it all? And by ‘all’ we mean the lead in the production of ‘Giselle’ as a freshman, an astounding hip hop choreography career as an 18 year old, a fantastic talented boyfriend with a lousy ‘secret’, have the one ballerina who’s better than her crack her ankle, have the one hip hop dancer who’s better than her be a complete asshole, garner the respect of her asshole teacher and be loved and respected by everyone on the planet earth. That’s what we mean by ‘all’. The answer is yes. The only issue is that there simply won’t be much left for the girl when she turns nineteen.

The main thing that this sequel, ‘Save the Last Dance 2’ has done for me is highlight the fact that I didn’t have a clue about how good ‘Save the Last Dance’ was. As I reflect back I remember ‘Save the Last Dance’ as a cold, gritty urban drama with dance as a backdrop. I believe whatever dancing Julia Stiles was doing she had to learn when she got that role as opposed to Izabella Miko who was a dancer before stepping into this and thus the focus of this movie changed into the bastard child of ‘Fame’ meets ‘Crossroads’ meets ‘One on One’. The focus in this movie and the thing that I guess director David Petrarca was ordered to lock in on was the dancing and if you like dancing you’ll probably like this movie because they do dance a lot. The tradeoff is that you’re also going to have to be down with some razor thin characters and plot lines regurgitated out the plot-o-matic machine. And the machine wasn’t working well that day. Since the characters are developed so lousily nothing they do has any kind of impact, the lousy dialog these poor actors are given to recite does not help matters in addition to a script that doesn’t even attempt to do anything remotely original. Jacqueline Bisset does do well with her sketchy character and I was impressed with R&B balladeer Ne-Yo who looks like he might have some acting skills in the two scenes they gave him.

This flick is four years old and I just saw it yesterday so the good thing for Izabella Miko and Columbus Short is that their careers have survived this thing. Columbus Short was damn good in the action flick ‘Armored’ and we just saw Ms. Miko in the Val Kilmer Straight to Video Bulgarian vehicle ‘Double Identity’ and she was the best thing in that otherwise awful movie. Maybe a bit too young to be Val Kilmer’s love interest but I can’t be mad at Val about that.

That one was torture to sit through folks. I’m thinking that fifth ‘Bring it On’ movie that they are forcing me to watch can’t be worse than this one can it?

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