Magic Mike’s Last Dance15¦ blu-ray, DVD
When the original Magic Mike was released in 2012, it was soon after that its director Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from filmmaking. Whether having his star Channing Tatum gyrating in his face during the production had anything to do with it is unclear, but he soon cleared his head, and returned to direct not long after.
What he chose not to helm however is its 2015 sequel Magic Mike XXL, possibly still not ready to face Tatum’s majestic torso. But much like being drawn back to filmmaking itself, Soderbergh couldn’t keep away any longer from the ‘magic’, returning for its third instalment.
Attending a swanky soiree in Miami is Mike (Tatum), who is there in the capacity of a waiter. He gets noticed by Max (Salma Hayek Pinault), who has organised the charity event, and hears word that Mike can dance. She’s so intrigued she offers to pay him a large chunk of change to dance for him, which he agrees to.
To say Max enjoys it is an understatement, as she decides to offer Mike a job – without actually telling him what it is. She must be persuasive as Mike soon finds himself on a private jet, bound for London.
Max finally reveals to him what she has in mind, and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that Mike simply can’t refuse. And before he knows it, it’s show time.
Considering the director’s indie roots, this dancing franchise isn’t what you would expect to be in his wheelhouse. And to be honest, it’s not his best work.
Certainly if you’re looking for a compelling narrative, you won’t find it here. It’s literally Magic Mike in London, featuring a number of male dancers who audition then rehearse for a show in a London theatre. And that’s it. There’s a poor attempt at trying to thicken it up a little by having Pinault’s character have a daughter, and a butler, but they add nothing substantial.
What it is then, is akin to a Chippendales Live show, with what feels like a few behind the scenes stuff to pad it out, which is essentially all that the story is – padding.
Tatum proves he’s still in good nick physically, despite doing far less dancing than before. And Pinault is literally lapping up all the attention, as she is the object of a fair amount of grinding.
And Soderbergh directs the dancing sequences with a fair amount of skill and panache, but overall the film is disappointingly flat, lacking much in the way of personality.
It feels less of a sequel and more of compendium of fancy dancing, which belittles all the considerable talent involved.
It’s an unnecessary sequel then that is top heavy on the performance front, and although there’s a fair amount of male stripping, there just isn’t enough story meat on those very bare bones.