I doubt anyone would have ever thought that, 7 years after the original "Bring It On", we would be looking at a fourth film in the franchise. The original film was an energetic piece of fluff, remaining entertaining enough due to fine performances and its ability to take itself not too seriously while at the same time acting like cheerleading was some sort of religion. The direct-to-video sequels (which were largely a rehash of the original) have had surprising success, racking up remarkable sales for direct-to-video titles.
More surprising is the fact that the latest entry in the "Bring It On" series, "In It To Win It", is really the closest of the direct-to-video sequels to the original. The picture focuses on Carson (Ashley Benson), who leads her West High cheer-team in the "Cheer Camp Nationals" against East High's team, lead by Brooke (Cassie Scerbo). Carson also finds herself falling for Penn (Michael Copon), who she doesn't realize - at first - is a cheerleader for the other team.
The movie goes along the usual path that the franchise has gone through before, but there's a willingness to be more ridiculous here (a "cheer-off" on the beach, bizarre cheer-curses, even a literal "cheer-rumble" on a dark street) that makes the movie a little more entertaining than the two that came before it. The dialogue also gets much closer to the kind of cheer-speak that the first film managed to come up with, as well. The performances are nothing to write home about, but Scerbo makes an appealing villain and Benson makes an enjoyable heroine.
After the two teams go after one another in a cheer rumble that doesn't end well, they find they both don't have enough members able to compete, and face the possibility of going home. With no other choice, both teams have to come together as one. The plot's nothing out of the ordinary, but the movie manages to make it feel at least a little bit fresh. The fact that the picture was shot mostly at the Universal Studios Theme Park makes it feel rather like a promo for the theme park, but the location does at least open the movie up a little bit more in comparison to the two other direct-to-vid sequels.
The picture is unintentionally funny at times (in a good way), but there's a few genuine laughs here, too.Overall, I have to say, this picture certainly isn't going to win any awards, but it's a pleasant surprise after the two previous "Bring It On" sequels.
VIDEO: "Bring It On: In It To Win It" is presented by Universal in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation wasn't demo quality, but image quality still remained above-average throughout most of the show. Sharpness and detail varied slightly; while the majority of the film looked crisp, some scenes looked slightly softer and fine details could look a touch muddy at times.
The presentation did suffer from some slight noise and edge enhancement, but these concerns were not too distracting and were only briefly seen. No print flaws were spotted and colors remained bright and bold (if a tad smeary in a couple of scenes) at all times.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offered up a rich, bassy score during the more intense cheer sequences, but the majority of the audio was a fairly ordinary "comedy" mix.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, "Lights! Camera! Bring It!" featurette, "The Rumble With Tony G!", "Cheer Off!", "East Coast Proper" and "West Coast Flair".
Final Thoughts: The picture is unintentionally funny at times (in a good way), but there's a few genuine laughs here, too.Overall, I have to say, this picture certainly isn't going to win any awards, but it's a pleasant surprise after the two previous "Bring It On" sequels.
The Film B-