Step Up Revolution
Director: Scott Speer
Writers: Duane Adler and Amanda Brody
Stars: Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Peter Gallagher, Cleopatra Coleman, Tommy Dewey
Original Music: Aaron Zigman
Cinematography: Karsten Gopinath
I have to admit it, I was not at all excited about going to see this movie. As much as I’m a fan of dance films (my favorites include Center Stage and Dirty Dancing), paying to go see them in theaters is pushing it. Why spend so much money on something that is sure to include terrible acting and a lot of fake drama? I can just watch it at home and fast forward to the awesome parts of the movie – the dancing scenes. There are three other Step Up movies before this sequel, and most of them are terrible. The original Step Up is hands down the best of the lot because it is graced with the star power of Channing Tatum. It’s the first movie I remember seeing him in and he’s a fantastic actor and dancer (for further proof see Magic Mike). But seeing as we’re now fourth down the line of the franchise, most of that star power will have faded. The fact that it’s in 3D adds to the feeling that studios are simply pushing the same crap in order to make money off us silly people. The trailer certainly looks like it has some cool dance scenes, but the more complicated the dance numbers are means the use of more talented dancers – which means that acting talent is probably thin on the ground. But throwing caution to the wind, I checked out the movie anyway – even paying extra for the 3D. Hopefully my “great dancing = bad acting” theory is incorrect. I’ve certainly been wrong before.
A group of flash mob dancers, named The Mob, are heating up the Miami streets in an effort to create a viral video to win a Youtube contest. When Emily Anderson meets one of the founding members of the Mob, Sean, she’s instantly drawn to him. Emily is trying to prove to her father that she can make it as a professional dancer, even though he doesn’t approve. She joins the Mob and works towards getting into an exclusive dance school. But when her rich developer dad threatens to destroy the neighborhood where the Mob lives, Emily must choose between her family and her dancing.
The Dance Sequences
The dance scenes were hands down the best dancing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Most of the film is made up of these elaborate flash mob sequences that look absolutely amazing. Lots of crazy moves, great music, and a bunch of hot shirtless boys make for some very fun viewing. About halfway through the movie I realized that my face hurt from smiling so much. I just enjoyed watching this group of people pop and lock for a good cause. The final epic “showcase” was incredible – with trampolines, sparklers, and some truly awesome music. If you’re a fan of this type of movie, you won’t be disappointed.
Look, none of these people are going to win an Oscar. But after watching a little of Step Up 2: The Streets, I was worried that I would spend the entire time in the theater cringing with the awkward forced dialogue. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of these people are at least believable in their roles. The chemistry between Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Emily (Kathryn McCormick) is great, though I’m sure a lot of that has to do with how well they dance together. When watching this movie on television (which I will inevitably do – that’s where I get my dance movie fix), I might not have to flip the channel every time someone is speaking.
I happen to be a fan of 3D movies, when they can use it as an immersive experience (like Avatar or The Hobbit). But when you have 3D just to make more money it really doesn’t work. I hate when a movie uses 3D to “throw” things at the audience – putting in specific scenes or shots that make it seem like something is about to hit you in the face. That kind of thing really only works in amusement parks during one of those 4D rides that can shoot water at you. When you’re in a darkened theater trying to enjoy a dance movie, it takes you outside the experience because it feels like a cheesy ploy. I really don’t need the dancers to step on my face. It wasn’t worth the price of those plastic glasses (especially for someone who spends a lot of money on movies).
You can probably tell from my description of the movie that this is not a real original movie. It follows the same basic story line of the first Step Up – boy from the wrong side of the tracks and rich girl meet and fall in love on the dance floor. The rest of the drama is pretty straight forward, pulling predictably from the rich vs poor headlines (hello Occupy movement). You don’t watch these movies for the plot originality, so it really doesn’t matter whether or not the drama makes sense. The predictable picture perfect ending is always a little too happy, and this one doesn’t really make sense (what rich real estate guy would give up a billion dollar investment for “dancing”?). But bad plot doesn’t really take away from the rest of the film.
Overall: 2.5 stars out of 5
If you’re a fan of dance movies, you will enjoy this film. Step Up Revolution has the amazing dance sequences you crave, along with some passable acting that will keep you entertained. It’s a fun movie that you can watch and enjoy – but you can probably do it at home. I don’t really need the 3D or the movie theater in order to watch a bunch of hot people dancing around. So while I recommend this movie for those who love the genre, you probably don’t need to spend the money to check it out in the 3rd dimension. Some of the scenes look cool, but it’s not really worth it. I look forward to renting this movie for a $1.23 at my local Redbox, so that I can appreciate the art without worrying about my wallet. Plus, a good dance movie is always better when you can move around the place without worrying about disturbing the other people in the audience (obviously, my family doesn’t judge me for trying to look like a break dancer… not to my face at least). So dance on Step Up franchise, especially if you keep turning out movies as awesome as this one. Just don’t get used to the whole 3D thing, because charging $13 for a viewing doesn’t really work for you.