Step Up Revolutions
Step Up Revolutions
The STEP UP franchise has been a cash cow for Touchstone Pictures ever since the first film hit theaters back in 2006. The dance flick starred up and comers Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan but more importantly, it was produced on a shoestring budget and went on to gross nearly $120M at the box office worldwide. With numbers like that, sequel after sequel was churned out with each installment earning more than its predecessor so it was no surprise to me when STEP UP: REVOLUTION, the fourth film in the franchise was greenlit and put into the hands of Summit Entertainment. You know, the studio behind THE TWILIGHT SAGA franchise.
Anthony Correa, Christopher Scott, John Archer Lundgren, Marc Macaulay, Mario Ernesto Sanchez, Peter Gallagher, Robert Paget, Steve Zurk
Now for those of you who are fans of the series, like myself, the STEP UP films aren’t known for their Oscar-winning performances or their brilliant storylines. It’s all about the dancing and as soon as Touchstone realized that, the likes of Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan and even Briana Evigan, who is a rising star now were out, with lesser known actors inserted into the mix. The films are still made on pretty small budgets but maintained their fanbase throughout the casting changes from one film to the next. That said, my only hope was that Summit would keep its STEP UP film as entertaining as the previous three and after watching STEP UP: REVOLUTION, I can honestly say they were very successful at doing so.
Emily (Kathryn McCormick), the daughter of a wealthy businessman, arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer, but soon falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs. The crew, called the MOB, strives to win a contest for a major sponsorship opportunity, but soon Emily’s father (Peter Gallagher) threatens to develop the MOB’s historic neighborhood and displace thousands of people. Emily must band together with Sean and the MOB to turn their performance mobs into protest mobs, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.
The premise itself was thin but the dancing and the overall entertainment value STEP UP: REVOLUTION had to offer was massive and it made for one hell of a moviegoing experience. The beginning of the movie kicks off with this badass dance sequence where the MOB takes over the streets of Miami, making it their very own and that really set the tone for what was to come. The film really took the whole flash-mob wave that’s sweeping the nation right now and ran with it but did so in very impressive fashion. Our two leads, Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman weren’t the best of actors but more than made up for that with their flashy dance moves and the chemistry they had together. The storyline for these films are always built around the dancing (and that has been the case since the very first sequel) as that is the main focal point of these movies and why people still want to see them but McCormick and Guzman held up their end of the bargain with some very entertaining dance sequences that got better and better as the movie pushed forward.
McCormick, of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE fame actually made her acting debut in the 2009 remake of FAME and I thought she did an decent job in this one. Director Adam Shankman (HAIRSPRAY, ROCK OF AGES), who has been a judge on SYTYCD since season 3 co-wrote the script for REVOLUTION and also produced it so that had a lot to do with her getting the role but I think she held up okay compared to past female leads. That said, each film in the STEP UP series has had a different actress dancing their way into our hearts and with that, the acting prowess of the chosen one has gone down but not by much. However, the sex appeal has GONE up, way up and McCormick was by far the sexiest. I thought Briana Evigan, who was the female lead in STEP UP 2: THE STREETS had the best dancing ability of the four ladies in the series but McCormick was very easy on the eyes and her moves like Jagger didn’t hurt either. As for the make lead Ryan Guzman, this was his very first feature film role so I didn’t expect him to put on a Ryan Gosling-like acting performance (and he didn’t) but you can’t deny the man’s dancing ability. It was off the hook.
The rest of the cast were just fill-in’s, there to round out the MOB without bringing very much to the table acting-wise but Peter Gallagher (“THE O.C.,” “COVERT AFFAIRS”), who’s a terrific actor played the antagonist, a wealthy businessman by the name of Bill Anderson and looked a little out of place in that role. Didn’t do much to convince me that he could actually crush the hopes and dreams of the up and coming dance crew and ended up folding like a stack of chairs by the end of the film while trying to do so. Actors pretty much come and go in this series and I don’t have a problem with that but after making his first appearance in the franchise back in 2008′s STEP UP 2: THE STREETS, Adam Sevani’s Moose has become the most popular character in the entire series and it was good to see him back for the fourth installment — although very briefly. First time feature helmer Scott Speer, whose credits mainly consist of music videos he’s directed did a decent job behind the camera. He gave us some really elaborate dance sequences which were very creative at times and captured the scenery of Miami beautifully. The soundtrack was badass too and fit right in with the dance sequences they were attached to.
STEP UP: REVOLUTION was on par with the previous two installments (the first film won’t be topped from here on out) and that might not be saying much but for fans of the series, this one is just as entertaining as the others. Our two leads Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman had great chemistry together both acting-wise and throughout their dancing performances, with the former element not as strong as the latter. The overall acting in this film is a bit mediocre but the dance sequences, the beautiful people and the overall entertainment value the movie had to offer more than makes up for it. The premise was simple and predictable but the STEP UP franchise isn’t know for its storytelling prowess and believe it or not, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Scott Speer was brought in to capture the amazing dance sequences in the same way he has done for years on the set of his music videos — and it worked. He didn’t recreate the wheel but he got the job done. STEP UP: REVOLUTION is a very fun film to watch and depending on how moviegoers respond to it box office-wise, we could be looking at another installment in another year or so. That may please some, while others are probably shaking their head in disgust but the basic method in which these films play out seem to work and that sound you’re hearing is the studio dancing its way to the bank because of it.