Step Up Revolution-attachment0

Step Up Revolution

Movie Information

The Story: A group of dancers in Miami must figure out a way to stop their neighborhood from being bulldozed by greedy developers. The Lowdown: A hokey, occasionally amateurish foray in the dance film genre, with a topical — and confused — message about economic equality that thankfully saves itself by being dumb enough to never be boring.
Score:

Genre: Dance Melodrama
Director: Scott Speer
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Peter Gallagher, Cleopatra Coleman
Rated: PG-13

Step Up Revolution is by no measure a good movie, but this is to be expected from the fourth film in an already hairy series. But it attempts to make up for these shortcomings with a heavy dose of topicality and purpose. In this case, the film echoes the sentiments of Occupy Wall Street, but with the ludicrous addition of dance numbers — positing for the first time that the revolution will be Dougie’d. Even though the film eventually cops out when it comes to the ideals it spouts, Revolution at least has the sense to take cues from Step Up 3D and be — at the very least — stupid enough to never be boring.

The movie takes place in Miami, where our hero Sean (Ryan Guzman) is a waiter by day and member of a flash mob cleverly named The Mob in his free time. The Mob’s whole purpose is to stage public stunts — like shutting down a street or infiltrating an art gallery for dance numbers — all of in the name of YouTube hits (and a large amount of contest money to boot). But things get serious when Sean learns his neighborhood’s about to be turned into a resort by a greedy developer, Mr. Anderson (Peter Gallagher). With the help of Anderson’s disaffected daughter Emily (Kathryn McCormick), Sean concocts a plan to push The Mob into the world of “protest art” and save his — and his friends’ — home.

The entire idea is pretty silly, going only slightly beyond the old trope about a bunch of teens attempting to save their community center. The film’s political points are pretty salient to begin with — at least compared to something like Dark Knight Rises, which uses current events more as window dressing — pitting the working stiffs of The Mob against their employers. But this falls apart in a depressing fashion when last message the film leaves us with is the idea that we’ll all sell out in the end — especially if someone waves a Nike contract in our face. This is after the film wraps up nice and tidy, as all of The Mob’s problems are solved through the power of dance, and we relive the history of Step Up, complete with guest appearances from films past (with, unfortunately, no Channing Tatum).

It’s that kind of film. And while there’s enough happening within the context of the movie to rarely have a dull moment, there’s unfortunately not a strong enough cast to make this goofy thing honestly palatable. The entire cast is a like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of franchise’s original film (right down to lead Ryan Guzman coming across as a fourth-rate Tatum, as horrific as that sounds). There’s nothing realistic about Step Up Revolution, which is both its bane (amateurish direction and stilted acting rule the day) and its boon. After all, the real point is the dancing. Interesting compositions pop up in the art gallery sequence, but the film doesn’t let loose into full-blown absurdity too often, and feels like a lot of “been there, done that” (at least if you’ve gotten stuck reviewing as many dance flicks as I have). Step Up Revolution’s greatest failing is perhaps its lack of importance, inherent silliness. The film just lets it all fly in a full-blown fit of cinematic inanity. Maybe one day this franchise will get there. Rated PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language.

 

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6 thoughts on “Step Up Revolution

  1. Andrew Leal

    Eeeek. I wouldn’t have seen this anyway, but four generic shirtless pics in a row? If Justin chose the images, he really wanted to help steer non-hormonal viewers away from this. I keep thinking, pull up your pants, nobody wants to see your underwear brand! Get off my lawn!

  2. Ken Hanke

    Actually, I chose them. First, because I’m a classy guy. Second, because after the first one, I thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be amusing if I could use nothing but these beefacke pictures?” — and the next three (and more) were in the same vein. Third, I felt it probably expressed the true raison d’etre of the film.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    our hero Sean (Ryan Guzman) is a waiter by day and member of a flash mob cleverly named The Mob in his free time.

    Doug and Dinsdale Piranha now formed a gang, which the called ‘The Gang’ and used terror to take over night clubs, billiard halls, gaming casinos and race tracks. When they tried to take over the MCC they were for the only time in their lives, slit up a treat. As their empire spread however, Q Division were keeping tabs on their every move by reading the colour supplements.

  4. Jeremy Dylan

    It frightens me to realize I understand this.

    Well, they don’t call you Superintendent Ken ‘Snapper’ Hanke for nothing.

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