Step Up: Revolution (2012)



Six years ago a film called Step Up appeared at the box office. It launched the career of one of America’s most in-demand, heartthrob actors and introduced me to how beautiful dance really was – even to the untrained eye, its art in motion. Three squeals later, I began wondering why filmmakers bothered trying to re-capture the magic of that film. More compliments go to this fourth part but it still lacks the same sparkle.

Best friends since childhood Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel Hamilton) are co-founders of “The Mob.” A dance group that creates elaborate flash mobs with stunts and music, started with purpose to give voice to the people who are passed over – those not among Florida’s wealthiest. Things begin to change when Sean meets the pretty, Emily (Kathryn McCormick). They discover both have an intense love of dance but Emily’s focus is on being accepted into a prestigious dance company – her technique is perfection but she lacks the passion and creativity to carry it off. Hoping to inspire her style, Sean invites Emily to his crew’s latest mob dance which leads to Emily wanting to be part of a group whose dancers pour their heart into art, a crew that goes against the rules.

Coinciding with Emily’s participation is the news that the livelihood of every person in the historic neighborhood is threatened when her father, a wealthy businessman (Peter Gallagher) makes plans to build a new resort leading to rivals and conflict.

FILM REIVEW | Step Up (2006)

Originality is hard to capture when you re-visit the same concept more than is good for it. Fresh voices (and faces in front of the lens) lent something new to this in ways that I cannot help but applaud. Newcomer scripter Amanda Brody was wise to move the location to the sunny beaches of Miami. It’s a real boast to the morale of the franchise and in a sense “tricks” us into seeing it in new ways set against green palm trees and not just on the dingy streets and skyscrapers of the eastern coast. First-time director Scott Speer was also chosen as the guy behind the camera and between his, producer's and Brody’s perspective, the film works much better than the two titles crammed in-between.

Personalities that are best described as “plastic” suit this movie’s protagonists – and I don’t intend to sound mean in confessing that but it encompasses the “idea” of each of the characters. Only, in this case, it’s Sean who comes from “wrong side of the tracks” and Emily that is the wealthy heiress who is bucking everything her father wants and rebelling against her world. Admittedly, I did find this pair cute together – I liked how self-assured Sean was; he didn’t let Emily’s position intimidate him into not pursuing or helping her, and that was refreshing. It made it easier to root for them as a couple before everything crashes in the usual I-hate-you-don’t-speak-to-me-ever-again break up and blow up. (Is there a movie that doesn’t do this!?) A trained dancer lends a lot of credibility to the roles and both Ryan and Kathryn are dancers – fans might even recognize her from So You Think You Can Dance?

 
To even the untrained eye, the choreography is clever and a stunning exhibit to watch. Back-peddling into the hip-hop style of dance that is not only an unattractive mess that looks like nothing more than kicks and flails, but also crass and unusually sexualized (in a very NON PG13 way) is what the majority of this film features. Mixed in are some of the more controlled styles of ballet and contemporary which was gorgeous. Filled with high energy dance numbers, the two that were best involve a Thomas Crown Affair-like idea with the dancers using sharp, smart movements that was synchronized talent on display and the art museum. The latter was perhaps the cleverest. When all is said and done, ‘Revolution’ had more content that some of its predecessors but still didn’t edge out my favorite of the bunch. When the dancing was classy, it was hard-pressed to knock it but sadly, too much of it was out of control and messy, and that cannot be praised.

CONTENT: Dozens of dancers dress inappropriately in sheer tops and low cut dresses that show cleavage. Most all of the dance moves are overtly sexual in nature. Minor profanity is used a time or two, and Emily often argues with her father over her future. Rating is PG13.
 
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Rissi
4 Comments

4 comments:

  1. I haven't seen any of the Step-Up movies, mainly because of the sensual dancing. Since I lead praise and worship dancing at my fellowship, I try not to fill my head with the inappropriate moves. Hehehe...

    Dancing, though, really is an art. :-D

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    1. I LOVED Step Up, Rosie. It was enchanting and wholesome in its romantic notions even if the dancing become a bit sensual at times. The three sequels haven't touched the "original" movie though both my mother and I agreed, this one came the closest!

      Aw! That's neat that you lead something at your church - I've helped with children's programs but haven't been involved in years now.

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  2. You are so right! Step Up #1 really was fantastic, there was chemistry and magic in that movie! Step Up 2 was a pretty decent follow-up for me, but 3D & Revolution were completely stale and empty! But I gave them a try just because I love watching dance so much! :)

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    1. I happened to see Step Up by chance basically and can still remember how "magical" it was. As a result, it's still one of my very favorite romances, Kellie. Both my mother and I liked this one better than the middle two titles but it did not re-capture that same feeling. I say, four is three too many squeals. :D

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