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Step Up Revolution

Critics often decry awards shows like the MTV Movie Awards and the People’s Choice Awards because experts don’t pick them. The people do and they tend to confuse their personal preference with actual quality. Many nominees, and therefore winners, skew towards films that are popular, but not necessarily good. The Twilight franchise’s sweep of the MTV Movie Awards over the last few years is a good indication of this problem. Some would argue that critics are simply acting self-righteous, as if they have the final say on what’s good and what isn’t, but when the movie going public has supported the Step Up franchise enough to extend it to four movies, can we really consider their opinions valid? The latest installment, Step Up Revolution, is more or less on equal ground as its predecessor, Step Up 3D, but that was so bad, it easily nabbed a spot on my list of the worst films of 2010, so that should put into perspective just how bad this thing is.

The loose story (“loose” in the sense that I’m not even sure it qualifies as one) follows a ragtag group of dancers, nicknamed the Mob, as they flash mob various parts of Miami and record it in the hopes of reaching ten million channel hits on YouTube before anyone else, which would net them all $100,000. They quickly realize that money isn’t everything, though, when a business mogul strikes a deal to begin a billion dollar development project down a destitute strip in Miami that just so happens to be where the Mob lives. Their dance routines quickly transition from performance art to protest art and with the help of Emily (Kathryn McCormick), the dance loving daughter of the evil business mogul, they aim to claim their streets.

And everyone knows the only way to spark change in the world is through the power of dance. Never mind the fact that the Mob is holding up traffic, illegally infiltrating businesses, interrupting private parties and press conferences and all around disturbing the peace. These kids need to express themselves. It’s best not to ask how they’re able to do all this without someone noticing, especially given that many of these places are well stocked on guards, or how they know the layout of these places, including the exact arrangement of their interiors, well enough to choreograph their moves on and around them. Logic is not this series’ strong suit.

There’s a moment in the movie when mob leader Sean (Ryan Guzman), the love interest of Emily, speaks about why he dances. He says it’s because he feels invisible to the city. He wants to speak up and say, “Look at me world. I’m here.” Then he turns to Emily and asks if that sounds lame. The easy answer is yes, not to mention pathetic and whiny. But in a movie that prominently features the long since clichéd plot of stopping an evil businessman from pushing people out of their shops and homes to build on them, what should we expect?

Step Up Revolution isn’t about all that. It’s just a thin plot device to make an excuse to have a great deal of dance numbers, most of which are no more interesting than your generic shoot-out in an action movie. You can throw dance moves in front of me all you want, but doing so isn’t enough to make your movie fun. Similar to Step Up 3D, which delighted for a few minutes at least with a snazzy Fred Astaire-esque dance number, this movie has brief moments of entertainment, mainly in the backend of the film. One clever moment comes with the use of trampolines as one dancer falls screaming off of a shipping container only to bounce back up, seemingly defying gravity to the spectators looking on (again, it’s better not to ask how they managed to build a trampoline into the roof of the shipping container itself—just go with it), but this is only a small positive in a movie washed with horrible acting (also like the last film, the actors were chosen on their dancing skills rather than their ability to emote), a harebrained story, forced conflict and a far too neat and speedy resolution. To make matters worse, the movie completely contradicts itself at the end. The story stresses the importance of expressing yourself and sparking change in people; money’s importance is depreciated. But when the Mob is offered a deal with Nike, they jump at the chance to throw away their values (“Where do I sign?” one dancer responds—just another example in a long line of hackneyed dialogue).

I could probably double the length of what I’ve already written if I desired to point out every little flaw in the entire movie—there are dozens more I could go in depth on—but that’s a frivolous endeavor. People know what they’re getting themselves into when they go see a Step Up movie, but let’s remember this. Personal preference does not equate to actual quality. Regardless of whether or not people like it, Step Up Revolution is a bad movie.

Step Up Revolution receives 0.5/5

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