As dance/musical movies go, I am reminded of one of my favorite films of all time, “Singin’ in the Rain,” which just turned 50.
In that same fine tradition, “Step Up Revolution” opens nationwide this week, but I doubt it will have the “legs” to go even 50 days, much less 50 years.
As per usual in these “Step Up” movies, the story takes a back seat to the big dance production numbers (something you might expect), but so little effort is placed on plot that I’m beginning to wonder why the filmmakers even bother anymore.
Here’s the breakdown: Poor boy (Ryan Guzman) with free-form dance skills meets rich girl (Kathryn McCormick) with technical dance skills — who could learn a lot from this guy, if her real estate tycoon daddy (Peter Gallagher) would allow it. Yeah, I know. No one puts Baby in the corner of a Miami dockside warehouse!
Daddy Megabucks wants to tear down poor boy’s culturally rich Miami neighborhood to make way for a sprawling complex of fancy hotels and boutiques.
Poor boy’s flash mob dance troupe, creatively named “The Mob,” decides to fight back against “the man” with a series of protest exhibitions aimed at saving the community. Oh, and meanwhile, poor boy falls in forbidden love with rich girl. What an original concept. Heck, that’s not even original to this franchise.
But really, who cares? This is all about the dance, man! Plot schmot!
And admittedly, the dance routines are, to coin a phrase, a step up. The opening sequence, involving a traffic jam session on Miami’s famed Ocean Drive, is fairly spectacular. Also of note are a business suit flash mob moment in a high-rise lobby, a modern art display in a fancy gallery, an extra crash course in an eatery’s dinner menu, and a grand finale assault on the rich man’s groundbreaking ceremony — including dancers going down walls on bungees, which was actually pretty cool.
Perhaps not so cool is a military-style invasion of a rooftop gala that features dancers in paramilitary vests and gas masks lobbing smoke bomb canisters into a crowd.
Yes, your thoughts will turn to Aurora, Colo., and that’s unfortunate, but the studio, Summit Entertainment, has decided to leave the scene intact, hoping moviegoers will appreciate the difference between protest art and mass murder.
This is one of those decisions that falls under the heading: “Damned if you do/damned if you don’t.” Some will say the studio is insensitive for leaving it in, while others will say taking it out caves to the intentions of a mad man. It’s your call. Just wanted to let you know it’s there.
Yes, we’ve established that “Step Up Revolution” is no “Singin’ in the Rain,” but if you love dance and don’t care what surrounds it, you could do worse (like see it in increasingly annoying 3-D).