The third installment of the urban dance series takes one step forward and three back. The 3-D at its best pops (a red-gloved dancer bursts out from the screen as if diving through a window), but more often it's merely Dramamine-inducing.
Jon Chu, who helmed SU2, directs with confidence, but the woeful script plugs in one platitude after another to push the mealy melodrama to the next dancing breakout. Moose (Adam G. Sevani) provides the link to the other Step Ups — a grad of the Baltimore-based art school in SU2 and 1, he now attends college in the Big Apple, and he's bent on an engineering degree, but he gets sidetracked by a stomp crew of misfits and outcasts known as the Pirates, who are gearing up for a big dance-off against the rival Samurais.
The whole execution is so wobbly and hoky, it borders on inadvertent camp. Still, the lithe bodies and cool moves do keep you on your toes.