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STEP UP REVOLUTION Review. Eye-popping moves and attractive leads boost the franchise

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Great 3D dance moves, an attractive cast and the South Beach backdrop make Step Up Revolution a fun addition to the franchise

Of all the movie genres embracing 3D technology, action, animation, horror, it’s dance that truly captures its razzle-dazzle potential. The veteran filmmaker Wim Wenders transforms 3D dance into film art via his recent documentary Pina. First-time feature director Scott Speer mixes a familiar, teen-friendly story of unexpected romance, a disapproving father, and friendship rivalry with a surprising shot of political activism and the sexy backdrop of Miami for the entertaining Step Up Revolution, the fourth film in the satisfying and steady Step Up franchise.

Dance competition series like So You Think You Can Dance are as popular as ever but none of the TV dance shows compares to the super sized pop and 3D excitement of Step Up Revolution. Speer and co-writers Duane Adler and Jenny Mayer stick to tried-and-true teen formula but all’s forgiven when the young dancers leap off the movie screens.

Trained dancer Emily (Kathryn McCormick) follows her hotel owner father (Peter Gallagher) to Miami’s South Beach neighborhood to help him add to his Miami footprint with a new hotel complex in one of the city’s working class districts. 

Against her father’s wishes, Emily tries out for a contemporary dance company and befriends Sean (Ryan Guzman) a handsome server at her father’s hotel, who also happens to be the co-founder of flash mob dance crew who call themselves The Mob.

Sean, the crew’s co-founder Eddy (Misha Gabriel) and their team members bring Ocean Drive to a grinding halt with an amazing street performance atop the stopped cars. The Mob set out to win a You Tube contest and a big money payout but turn their dancing into political activism when they find out about the plans to destroy a Latino neighborhood for the new hotel complex. With Emily’s help, they get to work on new protest performances, tweaking the dance movie formula of kids putting on a show.

Newcomers Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick, a So You Think You Can Dance contestant, make an attractive dance couple although their dramatic work pales in comparison to their dance moves.

The reliable Peter Gallagher delivers what’s quickly becoming his stock character, the corporate villain.

Often the case in the Step Up movies, the most enjoyable performance goes to Adam Sevani who appears briefly as the shaggy-haired Moose. Sevani is likable, charismatic and more interesting than his glossy but somewhat dull co-stars. Sevani is also a great dancer so it’s disappointing that he does not perform more in the movie.

Still, Speer and his crew set Step Up Revolution apart with a standout opening number on Ocean Boulevard and an arty performance set inside the galleries of a contemporary art museum.

The routines are elaborate and truly dynamite thanks to clever use of 3D and smooth the rough edges of a dramatic plot that’s predictably silly at times.

Popular TV dance contests like So You Think You Can Dance are here to stay. Hopefully, dance movies like Step Up Revolution will continue to push the 3D envelope on the big screen.

Young fans of Step Up Revolution may not remember the put-on-a-show movies starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney but the Step Up franchise does a great job updating the formula for a new generation of moviegoers.

Step Up: Revolution Movie Details:

Distributor: Summit Entertainment

Cast: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Adam Sevani, Peter Gallagher

Screenwriter: Duane Adler, Jenny Mayer

Director: Scott Speer

Cinematographer: Karsten Gopinath

Editor: Matt Friedman, Avi Youabian

Producers: Summit Entertainment, Offspring Entertainment

Running Time: 99 minutes

Rating: Rated PG-13

Release Date: July 27, 2012


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