The plot’s still threadbare and the dialogue still cheesy, but Step Up Revolution has some thrilling, well-choreographed dance numbers…and let’s face it, that’s the reason we still go to these movies.
Fourth installment in the popular Step Up franchise, Revolution is set in gorgeous Miami Beach where local kid Sean (Ryan Guzman) and his band of young street dancers called The Mob stage elaborate flash-mob performances in public places across the city, hoping to win a big cash prize in a contest sponsored by YouTube. Emily (Kathryn McCormick) is a poor little rich girl badly trying for a spot in a prestigious dance troupe. When Sean and Emily meet, sparks fly. But there’s that tiny little issue of Emily’s father (Peter Gallagher), a real-estate baron who wants to tear down Sean’s working-class neighborhood to construct an upscale hotel complex in its place.
Making full use of 3D, director Scott Speer films frantic, vibrant dance routines bursting with energy. The Mob stages dazzling dance spectacles in the middle of a crowded street, at a restaurant, and at a city council meeting, but one-set piece at an art gallery, in which dancers pop out of artworks and transform into sculptures, is particularly stunning.
Unfortunately, however, Step Up Revolution feels like a parade of actors so unquestionably bland that it’s unlikely you’ll remember even one of them as you walk out the door when the lights come back on in the end. Also rather unconvincing is the film’s anti-capitalist message, and that clunky subplot of The Mob staging their climatic dance-off to protest against the neighborhood’s proposed corporate takeover.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Step Up Revolution. The actors and the script have two left feet; watch it if you must for the infectious energy of its dance numbers.