Step Up 4: Revolution 3D Blu-ray Review
So You Think You Can Make a Movie.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, November 26, 2012
At a recent dinner party that included our kids as well as several of our friends' children, the hosts and their daughter
asked everyone if they had seen a YouTube parody of Gangnam Style
featuring none other than Mitt Romney.
It turned out that some people at the gathering had never even seen the original Gangnam Style
, and so a little
viewing party started at the dining room table where various YouTube videos were accessed to properly "educate"
everyone. Later, back at our house, our sixteen year old son expressed his shock and dismay that anyone
could not know about the original Gangnam Style
, let alone never have seen it (and as much as I hate to admit
had a point in a way, considering the fact that the video has become the most viewed item in YouTube history,
generating over 800 million hits thus far in its illustrious career). I confessed that while I knew about the song and the
video, I had never actually sat down and watched the thing the whole way through. My son looked at me in absolute
disgust (the kind that only a teen can convey to a parent), and informed me that would have been like me not knowing
about the Macarena when I was young. The fact that my son obviously has no concept of time, and that I was far from
"young" in 1994 when the Macarena swept the globe for its 15 minutes of fame, was set aside for a moment while I
considered various dance fads that have conquered the hearts, minds and feet of people through the years. There are
no doubt sociological studies galore yellowing in doctoral thesis archives around the planet discussing the implications
of various dances and their eras, but here's another, somewhat related, thing to think about, one more of our current
era: what's up with the immense popularity of watching
people dance, as evidenced by such shows as
Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance
, and, yes, the occasional (or maybe not so occasional)
YouTube phenomenon. And of course film has long had a love affair with dance, from the hoary days of Astaire and
Rogers through to Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, the incredible ballets of Jerome Robbins in West Side Story
enterprises like Dirty Dancing
, which reinvented the dance film genre and provided a supposedly new template
for a whole string of films which followed in its wake, including not so coincidentally the Step Up
which Step Up Revolution
is the fourth entry.
Let's face it, films following the Dirty Dancing
formula (and Step Up Revolution
follows that formula to an
absolute "t") are not exactly paradigms of realism or emotional depth and nuance. But Step Up Revolution
pat and predictable that it's actually laugh out loud funny a lot of the time. We get Emily (So You Think You Can
alum Kathryn McCormick), the feisty young woman who arrives in Miami to pursue a professional dancing
(yes, there must be a bit call for professional dancers in Miami). She "meets cute" with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a waiter
tony resort (sound familiar?) who also happens to be one of the lead dancers for a local aggregation known as The
which organizes "flash mobs" around the city which involve incredibly intricate choreography. Meanwhile it turns out
Emily's father Bill (Peter Gallagher) is a real estate developer who is in town to tear down Sean's neighborhood, the
mob hangout, in order to build more tony resorts and high rises. Oh, the humanity.
So with that set of plot points, you can pretty much guess what's going to happen. Sean and Emily are going to fall in
love while dancing the Lambada, or some other forbidden dance. Emily is going to become incredibly distraught as she
realizes her father is going to destroy Sean's neighborhood. They'll have an argument where Dad will inform her he
won't tell her how to dance if she doesn't tell him how to run his business. Sean and his flash mob associates will take
to the internet with a number of videos in order to raise their profile. And then just when Dad is announcing his
development plans to the movers and shakers of Miami, Sean, Emily and the entire flash mob congregation will show up
to amaze everyone with their furiously kinetic dance moves. Do you think Dad will have a change of heart?
Hmmmm. . . .
Step Up Revolution
is so relentlessly ridiculous that it's next to impossible to lend it even enough credence to
give it a withering critical assessment. The dance sequences are what at least marginally saves the picture from being
absolute dreck, but even those are so hyperbolically silly at times that they almost defy description. The opening
sequence, for example, has a bevy of muscle cars doing their own choregraphy, and, no, you haven't misread that.
Director Scott Speer favors the quick cut ethos
that has come to define modern musicals, so that it's never
possible to tell whether these kids are actually dancing or simply moving a muscle slightly for the one second edit and
then moving on to their next pose. To be fair, the musical sequences do have a modicum of flash and flair, with good
use of the Miami locales and several large sets pieces, like the big finale that makes good use of supposedly
abandoned containers and the like.