As a female I’ve seen my fair share of dance movies and with any genre of film there’s the good, the bad, and the downright unwatchable. Step Up Revolution (also known as Step Up: Miami Heat for some reason) is right between bad and unwatchable. When the dancing is taking place you can ignore about 90% of the films problems, but when the actors are forced to…act, the movie becomes a wretched direct-to-DVD mess. The first two Step Ups were good for what they were but Step Up Revolution is further proof this franchise is over.
A flash mob, conveniently called “The Mob,” is bent on saving their town from being taken over by land developer Mr. Anderson (Peter Gallagher). As their efforts come up against resistance dancers Sean and Emily (Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick) fall in love and have an uphill battle to stay together.
I mentioned before I enjoy the first two Step Up films. They were corny but were reliant on a rich kid/poor kid love story and little else. In Step Up Revolution the film isn’t content to tell a love story but also beats the teenage audiences over the head with a social message steeped in Occupy Wall Street. Does anyone remember the movie Lambada, where at its heart it was supposedly about saving the rain forest? Yeah, that’s pretty much how Step Up Revolution gets its social message across as the land developer plot line doesn’t even present itself until over an hour into the film; a film that is only 99 minutes long. You can tell the screenwriters didn’t even want this plot as the evil landowner (are there any other types) doesn’t even have a first name, just Mr. Anderson.
I will say the dancing is perfect as always but these films have always prided themselves on stellar dance sequences. While not on par with the rain dance of Step Up 2 (and I didn’t even bother with Step Up 3), this version has a decent dance in an art gallery that’s worth seeing on television. I didn’t see this in 3D but it’s obvious where the effects are meant to come in as people’s hands and other things are thrown at the screen. If that’s what they count as 3D I’m glad I saved my money. One part that I found interesting was an “attack”-like dance sequence where the mob comes in with smoke bombs and full body armor, considering the recent news of films getting delayed in light of the tragic events in Aurora I was pretty shocked to see this scene still in the film.
The acting is not the reason to see these films as the actors are obviously dancer’s first, actors second. Guzman and McCormick are pretty to look at but their acting is simply saying the lines. There’s no heart or emotion to their plot and I never felt like they were in the midst of a grand love story, more a one-night stand, a week tops. The only actor in the bunch is Peter Gallagher and his role is so one-note he’s not even worth reviewing because the character is so bland.
There’s really not much more to say. At this point if you’ve seen the past Step Up films you already know whether or not to continue with the franchise. Considering I took a break with Step Up 3 I probably should have just skipped this one as it removed all the heart and narrative of the first two (and they didn’t have much to begin with). If you have to see this I’d wait for DVD, it’s not worth seeing in a theater at all.