Step Up Revolution (also known as Step Up 4: Miami Heat, and previously titled Step Up 4Ever) is an American 3D dance film produced by Step Up 3D director Jon Chu and directed by Scott Speer. The fourth installment in the Step Up film series and set for theatrical release on July 27, 2012, it stars Kathryn McCormick from the sixth season of So You Think You Can Dance and will feature choreography by Travis Wall. Unlike the first three films produced by Touchstone Pictures and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, this film is the first to be produced and distributed by Summit Entertainment without Touchstone's involvement.
Emily arrives in Miami with aspirations to become a professional dancer. She sparks with Sean, the leader of a dance crew whose neighborhood is threatened by Emily's father's development plans.
'Step Up Revolution': Dancing with a dollop of politics
The fight to dance for what you believe in starts as a covert operation in Step Up Revolution, the fourth installment in the popular dance-movie series. Set in a spicy Miami and introducing a conspiracy of creatives called the Mob, the film's motley crew stage epic flash mobs (the dancing kind) around town. There is a DJ, and there are a pair of Parkour performers, a special effects whiz, and a graffiti artist.
And then there are Step Up Revolution's stars: Sean (Ryan Guzman), a neighborhood hip-hopper, and Emily (Kathryn McCormick), a Twyla Tharp wannabe and daughter of an evil real estate developer (played by Peter Gallagher). They fall in love despite living on different ends of the beach. And after a rocky start as an apprentice for Wynwood Contemporary dance (her dream job), Emily joins the group's secret operation to perform a massive synchronized dance that will prevent her father from carrying out his corporate schemes. Spoiler: Gallagher sheds a few 3-D tears.
This gang of highly skilled dancers (with the guidance of debut director Scott Speer) delivers a sequence of spectacular group numbers that truly pop in 3-D. The Mob brings a gallery's worth of art installations to life, doing a ballet in jellyfish costumes. They gyrate on tabletops in upscale restaurants and leave behind sculptures made of cutlery. It would all be too ridiculous, if it weren't for the choreography on display.
But when you take the 3-D glasses off and the dance numbers make way for story line, Step Up Revolution is hardly revolutionary. In fact, it's a familiar amalgam of all of the dance movies that have come before - pushing the boundaries between tribute and parody. One dancer shouts, "It's time to go from performance art to protest art!" And so they do, in the least artful way possible.
But if you're into dance, and dance movies, this one teems with the latest trends (albeit trends that will soon turn to nostalgia). In addition to those flash-mob numbers, there are YouTube viral videos and Improv Everywhere-style antics that drive this movie to its krumping, pop-locking, wall-jumping finale. Fans of TV's So You Think You Can Dance will take pleasure in the self-referential performances of choreographer Mia Michaels, not to mention Step Up Revolution's leading lady, former SYTYCD contestant McCormick.
Shamelessly derivative throughout, Step Up Revolution throws in a sensual dance rehearsal in the water ŗ la Dirty Dancing, and an opening sequence of souped-up race cars in Fast and Furious mode - only this time there are dancers break-dancing on top of the cars!
The character of Sean - his greased-up six-pack, his backward hat, and his dreams, bigger than just dancing alone or getting a real job - can't help reminding us of Step Up alum Channing Tatum, grinding away in the theater next door. Sadly, somewhere between a split and a fist pump, Revolution fell flat, and I found myself wishing for Magic Mike in 3-D.
Step Up Revolution is almost laughably beholden to the formula laid out by the previous entries in the franchise. A hot, street-dancing poor boy, played again by an Abercrombie & Fitch model, brings a sweet young thang into his posse, but will her classical dance training taint their street cred, and will they survive the obligatory Three's Company-style misunderstandings that ensue once everyone learns of her association to the Whitey Corp. that threatens their stomping ground?
After introducing us to the world wonder of Channing Tatum's pelvic thrust, the series took it to the streets, then wondrously blew itself up in three dimensions. Something of a greatest-hits combo, Step Up Revolution mixes class-consciousness with streetwiseness, giddily busting a move in 3D, but the revolution it televises between a group of Miami flash mobbers and a gentrifying hotel conglomerate pays only lip service to the culture that would be lost if a development project were allowed to replace an ostensibly impoverished strip of waterfront property where "people actually live."
The Brady Bunch-grade narrative follows the attempts of the chummy Mob to ingratiate themselves into the public's consciousness with a YouTube video they hope will snag an excess of 10 million viewers. They cause scenes with surprise flash mobs on city streets and inside art galleries and restaurants, subverting the pretense of Miami's luxe spaces, but it's not until they decide to get their Kony 2012 on, elevating performance art to protest art by crashing a project-determining meeting at a downtown Castle Greyskull, that their manifesto catches fire.
The film, through its spectacular dance sequences, advocates an ethos of polite remonstration. Though the flash mobbers thumb their nose at refinement, their true enemy is the mundane, the stuffiness of the art-gallery space and the grayness of the high-end dining experience. Building off of the objects that exist within these spaces, they put a "spin on fine art," repurposing it so as to shock the complacent connoisseur. And this spirited purpose finds almost poignant expression in the crew's efforts to open the eyes of Bill Anderson (Gallagher), not only to the culture that his hotel project will destroy, but to his daughter's passion for dance.
But Step Up Revolution never relishes the unique cultural essence that Anderson threatens to snuff out. Lucha, a reference to the rift between the best buds played by Ryan Guzman and Misha Gabriel, is one of few Spanish words spoken in the film. Cuban flags are unseen, maduros uneaten, mojitos unsipped, though Guzman's Sean and Kathryn McCormick's Emily do the salsa at one point. The film audaciously asks us to cheer a dance revolution that can't be bothered to channel the iconography and spirit of the immigrant struggle that brought almost one million Cubans to the very place the flash mobbers pretend to stand up for. They may bust fierce moves, but there's no joy in watching the perseverance of something so whitewashed.
Step Up Revolution, Summitís $33 million sequel, found itself in second place with $4.9 million on Friday, though it may fall to third by Sunday night. Back in 2010, Step Up 3-D garnered $6.7 million on its first Friday en route to a $15.8 million debut. The same trajectory puts Step Up Revolution on pace for an $11.6 million weekend.
Box Office Mojo: Domestic Total as of Jul. 27, 2012: $4,850,000 (Estimate)
ROBBIE WILLIAMS★MARIAH CAREY ★ JENNIFER LOPEZ COLDPLAY★LINKIN PARK★MAROON 5
I watched it yesterday and loved it! Gotta rep for ma city
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Miami takes center stage in the fourth installment of the popular dance franchise.
In Step Up Revolution, director Scott Speer uses dance as an allegory of the struggle to transcend the hopelessness of mankind’s existence. Ha ha! Just kidding. It’s really just a dance movie, interrupted sporadically for PG-13 romance, bad acting, ridiculous dialogue (“I’m your boss, not your homie”) and earnest “let’s put on a show to save our homes!” spirit. Contrary to its message, it will not change the world. But the dancing will make you sit up and take notice.
Filmed in Miami and Miami Beach and showing off both cities so gorgeously you’ll want to vacation here even if already live here, Revolution is the fourth film in the series that started back when Channing Tatum played Tyler Gage, a rebellious street dancer sentenced to community service who falls for a ballet dancer at a performing arts school in Baltimore. Tatum has moved on to greater and more scantily clad roles now, but the Step Up train rolls ever onward, buoyed by upbeat soundtracks, killer choreography and the fact that this sort of street dancing looks great in 3D. Plot and performance are irrelevant. What matters are the moves, and Step Up Revolution has more than enough to keep even the most casual fan appreciating the beats.
Like Tyler Gage, the not-really-very-bad boy of the movie, Sean (Ryan Guzman), isn’t much of a rebel. He even has a day job as a waiter at a swank South Beach hotel, which is where he meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick), daughter of the hotel’s owner and developer (Peter Gallagher). But Sean also has dreams, namely staging a flash mob event with his crew that is so awesome it gets the most hits on YouTube (the movie’s joke about the difficulty of dethroning a singing kitten video is actually a pretty good one). Sean’s sister wants him to apply to a management training program, but Sean stands firm, and you know to take him seriously because he’s rocking an old-school Florida Marlins baseball cap.
Emily, too, has aspirations; she wants to audition with a local dance company. Dad wants her to move home to Cleveland with him, because as we all know, the fashionable and the wealthy just can’t get enough of the Rust Belt. Dad reluctantly agrees to let her try out, though, and soon Emily, in addition to practicing her ballet, is pulling off astounding feats with the rest of Sean’s Mob, a group of dancers so mercurial they can easily evade police pursuit on Ocean Drive or in downtown Miami, where streets are not usually swiftly navigated. In fact, the Ocean Drive sequence that opens the movie looks like a lot of fun, even though I know in my heart if I were one of the drivers stuck in the traffic while all these idiot kids and their bouncing cars blocked my access to the causeway, I’d be ready to step up and start a revolution, all right.
Trouble comes when Emily’s dad decides to redevelop Sean’s neighborhood and throw out all the hard-working locals to provide retail space for the rich, who clearly won’t mind the things that wash up out of the Miami River from time to time. Then Emily comes between Sean and his best friend, and not even an inspiring “It’s not OK to make art for fun anymore” speech can smooth things over. Must be time to dance.
There’s fun to be had spotting local landmarks, like the parking lot/event space on Lincoln Road or the wall at the New World Symphony, although locals will have to shake off the geographical inconsistencies of Sean’s neighborhood, which appears to be simultaneously on the Miami River and right next to the AmericanAirlines Arena. And perhaps we should reassure outsiders that as Miamians we don’t spend a lot of time hanging out under highway overpasses all that much here, unless we’re sex offenders or filming a Dr Pepper commercial with Pitbull. Then again, we don’t dance this much in public, either. Step Up Revolution definitely makes you think life would be more fun if we did.