(Dance drama, PG-13, 97 minutes)
If you’ve seen one dance movie, you’ve seen them all — that’s what I think, anyway. However, for those who can’t get enough of innovative moves over some sort of techno beat, “Step Up Revolution” opens today in theaters nationwide. It is the fourth film in the franchise, and more are sure to follow.
The premise is a familiar one from various movies for teenagers: Rich girl meets boy from the streets. They dance, fall in love, and dance even harder because, well, they’re in love. This film is based in Miami, and the colorful landscape mixed with chart-topping songs make for a high-energy movie — a necessary element to make up for some of the acting.
The unnecessary part? 3-D. In an interview with Jamal Sims, choreographer on all four “Step Up” films, he said dancing is three-dimensional on its own. I wish the filmmakers had taken this to heart. Regardless, dance crews and teenagers will eat this up.
Flash mobs have found their way into other movies and television shows, and this movie takes it and runs with it. Sean (former MMA fighter Ryan Guzman) is a staffer at a South Beach restaurant and hotel and the leader of The Mob. This group of dancers is trying to win millions in an online contest.
The Mob takes over Ocean Drive, restaurants, art museums and more in a well-orchestrated manner with military precision. Their fans override their enemies in the city.
Emily (Kathryn McCormick), the daughter of a developer played by Peter Gallagher, is also a dancer but her father wants her to join the construction business instead. Naturally, she meets Sean, who tells her about The Mob.
All is well until Emily’s father announces a new project that will wipe out the part of town where Sean and his Mob partners grew up and still call home. With everything on the line, Sean, Emily and The Mob do whatever it takes to save what they love.
Although there is a point to the movie, it’s not actually that important because the choreography is so innovative that the plot won’t matter after a while. This is more than dancing in the streets. From rap beats to classical tunes, these dancers have the ability to turn anything — cars, museums, sides of buildings — into a dance floor. It’s impressive to watch.
McCormick was finalist on Season 6 of Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” and her physical talent outweighs her acting ability. Guzman was more believable, but as the leader of a dance group, he didn’t move that much. Somehow, they managed to balance each other out.
The movie isn’t terrible but it’s not something to rush and see. At times, it felt like a really long after-school special, albeit it one with great music.
If you are willing to grin and bear through trite dialogue — “It’s about giving people that can’t speak a voice” and “ I didn’t mean to hurt you” — then kudos to you. You won’t be entirely disappointed though — you’ll be too busy bobbing your head, tapping your feet, and restraining yourself from getting up and dancing. But let’s be honest — you probably won’t be as good as the people on screen.