Step Up Revolution Movie Review
Let’s be honest. I have an unhealthy love for dance movies. Cheesy, campy, fun, and ridiculous – how can you not get worked up when another dance flick hits the silver screen? I imagine all the cool new moves I’m going to leave the theater attempting to pull off (can I dance on my car without sustaining injury? Answer: No) and get overly amped when I remotely capture the dance steps from the flick. When word got out that STEP UP REVOLUTION was hitting a theater near me (in 3D no less), I re-watched the first three in the franchise to get into the proper mind set and was alive with anticipation.
Hotel employees Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) are lifelong best friends and the leaders of the Miami based dance crew, The Mob. The crew’s goal is to get 10 million hits on YouTube to win $100,000 and worldwide fame. Setting up elaborate dance sequences the crew slowly rises to the top of the YouTube competition fueling their desire to make each video bigger and better than the last. When Sean falls for aspiring dancer and daughter to hotel magnate Mr. Anderson, the couple decides not to share Emily’s (Kathryn McCormick) relation to Mr. Anderson (Peter Gallagher) to the rest of The Mob fearing the outbursts that would surely follow. When Mr. Anderson’s company decides to buy the stretch of land that houses The Mob’s hang out and their homes, The Mob and Emily decide to fight back with powerful dance numbers called protest dancing.
The dance numbers are inventive and fun with the camera capturing the best shots for each sequence. But for being shot in Miami, I was sorely disappointed. Where was the rhythm, heart and essence of the vibrant city? I was geared up for some funky Latino beats, explosive salsa moves and a cha cha that would blow my mind. Alas, in the filmmakers weak attempts to make reference to the Miami culture and lifestyle we see: the beach and a bar hangout. We know this hangout’s owner has a Spanish background of some sort based on the assorted Spanish words and phrase he uses in every on screen moment. Even the colorful neighborhood felt forced and unnatural.
The music, though mixed perfectly and the essential backdrop for the in your face dances, didn’t have much of the spicy flavor you’d expect from a Miami based dance crew. I’m guessing that the studio realized this mistake in post-production as the name of the movie changed from STEP UP: MIAMI HEAT to STEP UP REVOLUTION. Where was the Miami heat that was so needed in this film?! If you would have kept the film near Maryland School of the Arts (even in New York City), I would have been less focused on the lack of Miami and would have enjoyed the in your face dance moments a great deal more.
Amazing as dancers, the actors were not as terrible as I predicted. They helped propel the story from one dance number to the next in a perfectly timed fashion, but there could have been a bit more dance and a lot less drama between the friends. I love how Peter Gallagher is in so many dance themed movies, from CENTER STAGE, BURLESQUE and now STEP UP REVOLUTION, he does a nice job as the alpha non-dancing male. When favorites Jenny Kido and Moose return the theater erupted with applause and I realized that I was one of several who even shouted and cheered. Wish they were on screen a bit longer.
The STEP UP franchise has done a great job creating fun dance movies with PG romance and cheesy moments. I cannot wait for the next STEP UP flick and hope if they opt to stay in Miami they take my suggestions to heart. Viva STEP UP REVOLUTION!