Title: Step Up Revolution
Director: Scott Speer (‘The LXD 2: Secrets of the Ra’)
Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick (TV’s So You Think You Can Dance,’ ‘Fame’) and Peter Gallagher
While some film franchises lose their originality and appeal as they release countless sequels just to make guaranteed money, the dance romance series ‘Step Up’ continuously proves its creativity with each entry. The new third sequel in the franchise, the 3D ‘Step Up Revolution,’ revamped the series with a mostly new cast of characters, played by experienced dancers, who put their talent to good use with impressive solo and group dance sequences. While the movie predictably reiterates the story told in the first three films in the series, the high-energy and well-planned dance routines prove the franchise’s worth.
‘Step Up Revolution’ follows Emily Anderson (played by Kathryn McCormick) as she travels to Miami with her father, Bill (portrayed by Peter Gallagher), the owner of a successful property development company. He’s determined to develop, and build ritzy hotels, in a historic neighborhood that’s home to an increasingly popular dance group, the Mob. Led by Sean (played by Ryan Guzman) and Eddie (portrayed by Misha Gabriel), two waiters at Bill’s Dimont Hotel, the Mob stages flash dances across the city to not only win a YouTube competition, but to also save their neighborhood.
Emily, who is determined to become a professional dancer, despite her father’s protests, decides to join the Mob to help them with their cause. She risks her relationship with her father as she becomes closer to Sean and tries to stop the development project. Emily, Sean and the rest of the Mob risk their dreams as they turn their performance art into protest art, in order to fight for the greater cause.
‘Step Up Revolution’ welcomingly differentiated itself from its three predecessors in the hit dance romance series by continuously featuring both high-energy flash mob numbers and sensual duets. Through the contemporary dance routines created by four seasoned choreographers, including franchise veteran Jamal Sims, ‘So You Think You Can Dance’s Travis Wall, LXD’s Chris Scott and ‘Stomp the Yard’s Chuck Maldonado, new franchise director Scott Speer was able to implement originality, suspense and creativity into the series. Whether the mob dancers were camouflaged into paintings or part of a 65-person routine in an office complex, or Emily and Sean were privately practicing stimulating routines, the third sequel featured original, impressive dances.
The daring dance routines in ‘Step Up Revolution’ didn’t just serve to visually impress audiences; Sean and Emily’s struggle to stand up for what’s right was artistically implemented into the story through their numbers. Emily’s determination to showcase that her father’s disregard for the community he was set to redevelop was smartly and cleverly implemented into the office routine. The dance included money being tossed around and countless workers unable to move forward to show that many affected by the greed of a few.
McCormick, the second runner-up on the sixth season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ naturally showcased Emily’s attraction to Sean and her desire to stop her father’s development plans through her ease with the choreography. While ‘Step Up Revolution’ is McCormick’s first major leading movie role, her extensive dance experience made up for her lack of acting experience. The actress’ determination to prove herself in the film with her dancing helped fortify the already impressive routines.
While the extensive choreography and impeccable dancing in ‘Step Up Revolution’ helped differentiate it from the other films in the series, the story has unfortunately become redundant and predictable. All the films in the ‘Step Up’ franchise follow the same format of a disadvantaged dancer working towards bettering their neighborhoods and lives with the help of a more fortunate dancer faced with their own family and societal obstacles. But just like the main characters in the previous films, Emily and Sean are predestined to obtain their goals.
Despite the all-too-familiar storyline in ‘Step Up Revolution,’ the fourth film in the box office smash series will undoubtedly amaze fans of the previous three installments. Through impressive, high-risk stunts and dance routines that deliver spectacular visuals and meaning, the third ‘Step Up’ sequel proves the talent of its choreographers, stars and director. Despite having relative acting and directing newcomers, the film sets the bar for all dance movies with its intense-filled, daring choreography.
Written by: Karen Benardello