Monday, January 28, 2013

Step Up Revolution

Directed by Scott Speer.
2012. Rated PG-13, 99 minutes.
Ryan Guzman
Kathryn McCormick
Misha Gabriel
Peter Gallagher
Cleopatra Coleman
Megan Boone
Mia Michaels
Tommy Dewey
Chadd Smith

The original Step Up was a decent dance flick most notable for launching the career of Channing Tatum. The next two movies in the series are horrible stories hidden beneath a bevy of exciting hip-hop influenced dance routines. Each only holds the slimmest strands of continuity to its predecessor as characters from the prior movies are only given cameos. I suppose the director for this outing, Scott Speer, figured if it ain’t broke…you know the rest. And if you’re one of us screaming that the franchise is indeed broken you’re obviously not paying attention. You have to read between the line dances. Replace the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke’ with ‘as long as it’s profitable.’ There ya go. I knew you were smart.

I would call the plot to this latest installment lazy, but hey, it’s actually breaking new ground for the series. The first three movies all revolve around dancing, school and the redemptive qualities of both. Well, part 3 kinda waves the finger at academia, but that’s in another review. School is completely absent this time around. For the bulk of its tale, Step Up Revolution simply rips off dozens of other flicks and dares you to remember which ones.

Okay, I’ve rambled into the third paragraph and haven’t even told you what the plot is yet. I’ll spill the beans since you insist. Emily (McCormick) wants to be a professional dancer but her rich Trump-esque daddy (Gallagher) wants her to take over the family business. The two agree, meaning he tells her, that if she’s not a pro dancer by the end of the summer, she’ll give up the ghost and come work for him. Obviously, dad isn’t into drawing things out. Meanwhile, his little girl falls madly in love with slum-dwellin’, hip hop dancin’ Channing Tatum stand-in Sean (Guzman). Sean happens to be a waiter at dad’s hotel. He’s also part of The Mob. Sadly, this mob does not include De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, an Armani suit, a black leather jacket, an overly made up moll, the FBI and not one freaking dancer gets whacked. Damn. Anyhoo, this mob puts on elaborate, dance numbers in heavily trafficked areas without warning which it films for YouTube in hopes of winning a contest. Never mind all that. Just know we soon discover that Emily’s daddy has purchased all the land in Sean’s neighborhood and is about to tear everything down and put in condos. Or is it a mall? A stadium? Skyscrapers? Habitat for Superheroes? Hell, it doesn’t really matter. Just understand that The Mob springs into action to save their home. So if you’re actually paying attention to what you’re reading and are old enough to remember you should’ve spotted what I am about to tell you. The brilliant minds behind this picture have merely taken the plots of Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and condensed them into one movie. Mind you, neither is even in the same universe as Citizen Kane, but it is what it is.

You know what, though? I’m not even mad at this movie. Don’t get me wrong. It sucks. It just sucks a lot less than the previous two “steps.” It’s errors are less egregious than those movies. Sure, the dialogue is regurgitated drivel and we’ve already discussed the plot, but there’s nothing offensive or aggressive about it. Well, unless you’re wealthy and/or republican. Even then you’ve seen this hundreds of times before. You already know that “liberal Hollywood” (as some would say) uses you as its go-to villain. You expect it by now. Part 2 suffers from racism while part 3 showcases backwards logic and morality. All three flicks equate dancers to gang-bangers. Despite the name of the group, this movie doesn’t even have that problem. It’s biggest issue is blandness. I’m not sure that connecting the narrative dots has ever been easier. And it still has big, loud, creative dance sequences. This makes Revolution the best of the three sequels. Admittedly, this is like being the best looking ugly person. Still, that’s better than not being the best looking ugly person. Capiche?

MY SCORE: 5/10

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