Step Up Revolution
Direction: Scott Speer
Cast: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick
As one would expect, the fourth installment of the Step Up franchise has a strained, sequelitis feel to it. Designed for the teen demographic, everyone involved with the by-the-numbers project aims to ensure an even bigger box office bonanza.
There's nothing here one hasn't seen in countless 'gotta-be-the-best musical fantasies', but there's no denying that the dance sequences are truly terrific. In other words, Step Up Revolution is surprisingly entertaining.
For a modicum of change, the action is relocated from the previous edition's New York City to sunny Miami. The somewhat stilted screenplay revolves around the swoon-y romance between a modern-day Romeo and his Juliet.
She (McCormick) is the daughter of a real-estate magnate who expects her to join the family business. The aspiring hoofer has other plans though, hoping that an audition with a prestigious dance school will propel her into the career she desperately craves.
He (Guzman), on the other hand, is a waiter at the beachfront resort owned by her father. The young hopefuls meet cute and discover the redemptive power of dance, in the process surmounting the usual mélange of personal problems. Joining his performance art troupe called 'The Mob', they switch to elaborate protest routines in order to foil her father's plans to build condominiums on community property.
Dancers constantly face-off in flurry of exuberantly choreographed moves, most notably at a chic art gallery, a trendy restaurant and a corporate office building where dollar bills rain down upon the nonplussed executives. The 3D effects provide an added fillip to the breathless routines.
Unfortunately, the troupe's anti-capitalist tirade turns out to be of no consequence. Despite proclaiming that "we're not for sale" they eventually compromise by accepting a lucrative assignment to endorse the products of a well-known global brand.
Making his feature-film debut, music-video wiz Scott Speer indulges in MTV-style speed editing which has nowadays become the norm in most dance-driven productions. The overblown technique often obfuscates the skills of the choreography crews.
Though they display undeniable dance flair, the debutant lead due, Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick, are ill-equipped to handle scenes involving actual emotions. One hopes that Peter Gallager, the only known cast member, at least received a hefty paycheck for his role of the property tycoon.
If you're in the mood to boogie-woogie, join the Step Up Revolution.