"Step Up Revolution", released in 2012, was the fourth film in the "Step Up" franchise. Like all the films in the series, the events of this film are only loosely related to the other films. And like all of the "Step Up" movies, this movie is all about dancing. The film stars Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick, the latter of whom rose to fame on the reality show So You Think You Can Dance?.
The movie takes place in Miami, where a group of working class people decide to steal back the spotlight from a society that ignores them by holding dancing flash mobs. All of these people, despite some talk of being "from the streets", seem to be relatively middle class, and very attractive. The male lead, Sean (Guzman) works as a waiter in a posh club, where he meets the female lead, Emily (McCormick), who seems to be just a bartender, but who is actually the daughter of the club's owner, a billionaire real estate developer. They find fellowship in dance, but when her rich father wants to buy the entire neighborhood to make a new development, will it drive a wedge between them?
This movie has the most stereotypical plot imaginable. Someone trying to make a parody of an eighties movie couldn't come up with anything better (or worse) than "group of scrappy misfits must save their neighborhood from greedy real estate developer by dancing, also, wrong side of the tracks romance". There are also gigantic chunks of the plot that require large doses of hand waving. How can a group of struggling twentysomethings put on dance performances that look like they would take thousands of dollars to stage? Why are the identities of the dancers in the flash mobs such a mystery when close-ups of their faces appear on their widely circulated videos? How can people this improbably good looking be so dejected about life?
All of which could be pointed out (and has been) ad nauseum. But this is still a great movie. This is a movie that promises dancing, and goodness does it deliver. The first two dance scenes are what you might expect to find in a popular dance movie set in Miami: lots of bikinis and body parts shaking. But if the movie's plot isn't challenging, its dancing is. There are five big set piece dance scenes in the movie, all involving costumes, special effects, and graphic art. The dancing ranges from kinetic, "sexy" dancing to subtle, expressionistic and modernistic dance. One scene involves the dancers in a modern art museum acting like sculptures, another scene involves the dancers, dressed as business people, drinking coffee and reading newspapers in unison. And the final dance scene goes from dance to stunt work as the dancers perform dancing on bungee cords in a gigantic industrial complex.
All of this doesn't sound as good when it is being described as when it is being watched.
But in summary, this movie doesn't just have good dancing, it has smart dancing. I can hope that at some point the effort that they put into choreographing a Step Up movie will be approached with the plot that they hang dance performances on, but even without that, this movie is worth seeing for the dancing alone.