TL;DR – Third time is the charm, as the latest entry finds the right balance between fun and drama
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Warning – There is scenes with flashing lights
Magic Mike’s Last Dance Review –
A press screening invite rarely comes with homework, but when I sent the invitation to see Magic Mike’s Last Dance, I realised that I had never watched the previous films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL. I had heard of them and seen moments like the petrol station dance. However, in all that time, I had not actually watched them. Well, this weekend, I fixed that oversite, and well, they were fine, but not exceptional, but can the third time be the charm?
So to set the scene, it has been years since Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) gave up the world of stripping, even longer since he made the fateful final ride with his friends from the Kings of Tampa. These days Mike is working as a bartender in Miami when he runs into Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault) and lets her get a taste of his talents. Seeing his skill first-hand, she asks him to come to London to The Rattigan to help put together a performance that will stay with people for years to come.
Now before we start, I do have to make two things clear. The first is that this is a film where many shirtless men dance and gyrate in different situations. From that description alone, I think you already know if this is going to be a film for you. The second is that I am coming to this review with the clear knowledge that I am not the target audience for this film. However, I was surrounded by the target audience, and I think I have a decent idea of how it landed.
Where the Last Dance works better than the first two films is that, for me, it got the balance between drama and fun. The first film set up all this drama and then just sort of ended, while the second was a bunch of fun but lacking in substance. Here we have an opening where Mike and Max are both at the point in their lives where everything has been pulled out from underneath them, and they are at the point where they need a change in their lives. This makes the perfect impetus to do something reckless, empowering, or just get some revenge.
This revenge comes through reinterpreting a play from one demeaning to women to one that empowers them. However, this is just the framework that the story uses to show the character’s moments and the struggles that come with upsetting a powerful family. Fighting patriarchy through the lens of male erotica is a choice, and it is the one that the film takes. But on that front, the dances are well structured, as was the intention to highlight the final performance for as long as they did. If there were a favourite, it would have to be the bus number for its structure and sheer absurdity.
If there is one strength, it is in its characters. Strangely for a film in this series, the dancers get barely a whisper of character growth. Besides, this one is from Rome. Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek Pinault have fantastic chemistry with each other, and it is where the film finds a lot of its electricity and its humour. However, where we get the best work is from the supporting cast. Ayub Khan Din is a delight as Victor, who becomes one of the cornerstones of the film. Jemelia George plays both the daughter of max and provides the narrative throughline that the story hangs on. Then there are the smaller moments, like with Vicki Pepperdine.
In the end, do we recommend Magic Mike’s Last Dance? Well, I think you will already know from the first two films if this will be your jam. It was well-acted and choreographed while providing the right balance of drama and humour that the film needed. If you liked Magic Mike’s Last Dance, I recommend The Lost City.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Directed by – Steven Soderbergh
Written by – Reid Carolin
Based on – Characters created by Reid Carolin
Cinematography by – Peter Andrews
Edited by – Mary Ann Bernard
Production/Distribution Companies – Nick Wechsler Productions, Free Association & Warner Bros Pictures.
Starring – Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek Pinault, Ayub Khan Din, Jemelia George, Vicki Pepperdine, Suzanne Bertish, Gavin Spokes, Juliette Motamed, Ethan Lawrence, Alan Cox, Nancy Carroll, Caitlin Gerard, Christopher Villiers, Christopher Bencomo, Marcus Brigstocke & Christie-Leigh Emby and Kylie Shea, Harry Carter, Manny Tsakanika, Anton Lanzelot Engel, J.D. Rainey, Sebastian González Molina, Jack Manley, Theophilus O. Bailey, Ryan Michael Carlson, Joel Ekperigin, Patrick Packing, Sebastian Melo Taveira & Jack Williams with Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash & Adam Rodríguez
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: na; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R