The “Step Up” movies get all social conscience on us in “Step Up Revolution,” where we learn that “Enough with performance art. It’s time for protest art.”
That’s right: For the first part of the movie, the hyperkinetic dancers who organize flash mobs are content to generate YouTube hits and compete for a cash prize.
But then a greedy developer (Peter Gallagher, looking embarrassed) plots to buy up a working-class neighborhood in Miami, in order to build a gaudy luxury hotel. What can young people do when faced with such a threat?
The answer, of course: dance. Dance, dance, dance, because you must become the change you seek, and then everyone will be dancing. Or something like that.
This fourth installment in the “Step Up” series doesn’t bear much connection to the previous entries, except for the dancing and the 3-D. It’s still at the level of the 1960s “Beach Party” movies, but without the depth and character development.
The dramatic twist is that the daughter of the land developer is herself an aspiring modern dancer, and when she falls in with the flash mob gang, she’s torn between freedom and Daddy. She’s played by the agreeably amateurish Kathryn McCormack, a veteran of the reality-TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Her beau, the leader of the mob, is played by Ryan Guzman, whose resemblance to Channing Tatum is surely coincidental. Any suggestion that studio executives wanted to change his name to “Tanning Chatum” should be taken with a grain of salt.
There’s a dance sequence every seven minutes or so, and there are some decent dancers in the house. None of that matters much, because the dance is atrociously shot by director Scott Speer, who is convinced that cutting every two seconds is the way to stage a musical number.
The result is that every time you’d like to see somebody actually dance, your attention is directed somewhere else. This is truly annoying, and helps sink the movie even more than the hackneyed story line.
The 3-D is actually pretty good. I find it strange that nondescript movies like this one and “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” have strong 3-D, yet much better films don’t get the technology right.
Strange timing department: “Step Up Revolution” has a sequence that begins with the mob showing up unannounced at a posh party, announcing themselves by throwing smoke grenades, and appearing in black body armor. It’s just a stupid design element, but by appearing in a film a week after the Aurora, Colo., shootings, this stupid touch has creepy, unintended overtones.
“Step Up Revolution” (1 star)
The fourth movie in the “Step Up” series moves to Miami for a flash mob’s attempt to keep a greedy developer from ruining a neighborhood. Their response? Dance, dance, dance. The annoying editing of the dance sequences is even worse than the hackneyed story line.
Rated: PG-13 for subjects.
Showing: Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Marysville, Meridian, Sundance, Thornton Place, Woodinville, Cascade.