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Review: In 'Step Up Revolution,' dancing as cure-all

It's a clash of rich and poor, greedy developers and idealistic youth, and, of course, dance styles.

July 26, 2012|By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • In "Step Up Revolution," Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick’s characters are from different sides of the dance floor.
In "Step Up Revolution," Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick’s… (Sam Emerson, Summit Entertainment )

"Step Up Revolution," the fourth outing for the movie series in which young people dance through their feelings, relocates to Miami and sets up a torn-from-the-headlines story of youthful protesters standing against economic injustice.

Hotel waiter Sean (Ryan Guzman) is part of a group known as the Mob that stages elaborate street performances around the city. When he meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick), the aspiring dancer and daughter of the developer looking to take over his neighborhood, it becomes a clash of dance styles and lifestyles.

Directed by Scott Speer, the film has the overly bright colors of a soft drink commercial, though that may be a purposeful attempt to combat the notorious dimness of 3-D projection. Though the location-specific choreography looks like it could be impressive, the film's frantic cutting style makes it difficult to simply enjoy bodies moving in space.

The musical selections imply there are two kinds of music, the bass-y, squelchy style the youth of today refer to as dubstep and the emo quiet storm slow jams for pensive moments of romance and close dancing.

The film ends on a predictably triumphant note with vague platitudes of reconciliation and an offer to participate in a marketing campaign for a multinational campaign with a shaky labor-practice record.

One perhaps does not expect a fully formed and cogent political platform from a "Step Up" film, but when a movie puts "Revolution" in the title and engages community action and social justice directly there should be more at the end than simply selling out to the first bidder.

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