Don’t look now, but the Step Up franchise has reached a level of success few others have. Mark Speer’s Step Up Revolution marks the fourth episode in the sizzling dance and romance series; a feat matched only by such memorable franchises as Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Shrek and a short list of others. Most die long before even hitting number three and we now know it’s not out of the question to reboot a series after only a couple of installments. Longevity is a rare phenomenon these days.
That’s not to say the Step Up phenomenon shouldn’t have flamed out long ago. Marked by poor acting, ridiculously implausible plots, and a cast of characters loveable only to its most loyal fans, the over-the-top films have managed to get by on a single fixation that has hooked a legion of teen-aged fanatics ever since Channing Tatum first popped-and-locked back in 2006’s Step Up. Step Up Revolution follows the lead of its predecessors by featuring a cast of red-hot young performers in gravity-defying production numbers set to a chest-thumping soundtrack. The Step Up films are about the high-energy dance action, nothing more.
Yes, there’s a plot in there, somewhere. As loose as it is, the story in Step Up Revolution revolves around best buds Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) who lead a multi-cultural group of cutting-edge dancers, musicians, and artists known only as “The Mob” that descends on Miami with dazzling flash mobs that appear out of nowhere – and vanish just as quickly. Seems the mob wants to win a sponsored contest that awards the first contestant to reach 10 million hits on Youtube with a $100,000 prize.
Meanwhile, Sean meets Emily Anderson (So You Think You Can Dance’s Kathryn McCormick), a classically trained dancer and the daughter of a ruthless developer named Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher) who plans to raze the The Mob’s neighborhood to make way for a huge commercial development.
Naturally, the conservative, all-business Mr. Anderson doesn’t approve of Emily’s artistic ways and agrees to give her a choice: either get a job as a professional dancer by the end of the summer, or come back to Cleveland with him and help run the family business. Emily joins the Mob to help put an edge to her dance routine, but when she hears of her father’s plans, Sean decides to hide her identity from the group. Once their secret gets out however, the Mob turns from performance art to protest art by disrupting the building plans with a semi-destructive assault on the multi-billion dollar complex.
As was the case with the three previous Step Up movies, the film catches fire when the plot steps aside in favor of the scorching dance sequences. They’re actually more like acrobatic routines and precision drills than dancing (even low riders bounce to the techno beat) but regardless, Step Up Revolution screeches to a grinding halt when people talk and dancers, first-timers, and wanna-bes are called upon to act.
Speer makes his directorial debut with Step Up Revolution, taking over for Jon Chu who helmed the middle two films in the series. He certainly knows where to put the camera for maximum 3D visual effect (hint: it’s right at the apex of a lunge at the camera), and with the aid of a more-than-capable D.P. and editors who know how to cut to the beat, Step Up Revolution is like a big bowl of bright, colorful candy… irresistible to the kids in the audience who’ll keep the series alive for number five, but ultimately unfulfilling with no lasting value.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language.
Director: Mark Speer
Writer: Amanda Brody
Cast: Ryan Guzman; Kathryn McCormick; Misha Gabriel; Stephen Boss; Peter Gallagher
Genre: Drama | Music | Romance
Tagline: One step can change your world.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Don't you know how this works? I hold a drink in my hand,, you dance around me and make me look good."
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Official Site: www.facebook.com/stepuprevolutionfans
Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details Available.
Synopsis: Step Up Revolution is the next installment in the worldwide smash Step Up franchise, which sets the dancing against the vibrant backdrop of Miami. Emily, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer, but soon falls in love with Sean, a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs. The crew, called the MOB, strives to win a contest for a major sponsorship opportunity, but soon Emily's father threatens to develop the MOB's historic neighborhood and displace thousands of people. Emily must band together with Sean and the MOB to turn their performance mobs into protest mobs, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.