Last week saw the release of Gimme the Loot, the SXSW Grand Jury Prize winner by Adam Leon, which sees two graffiti artists seek revenge after their replica of the…
It’s an odd thing to find yourself comparing a movie in the Step Up franchise to a Ron Mann film but since it so happened that I watched both this week, I’m gonna go ahead and do it. Like Listen to the City, Mann’s lost Canadian gem about the different ways people come together to voice an opinion, Step Up Revolution, the fourth in the series, also has something to say about the act of protesting ““ in this case through the art of dance.
The story is as trite as they come, underdogs from a rundown neighbourhood along the Miami waterfront face a tycoon (Peter Gallagher) intent on replacing their homes with a new luxury hotel. Said tycoon has a dancer daughter (Kathryn McCormick) who’s intent on rebelling against Daddy’s wish for her to find a more stable line of work. As expected, tycoon daughter and lead underdog (Ryan Guzman) meet cute and are soon making goo goo eyes at one another while performing in protest flash mobs all over the city. Do tycoon daughter and lead underdog end up together? Does tycoon daddy eventually see the light and leave the neighbourhood alone? Does the previously illegal flash mob not only become accepted by the city but also broker themselves a lucrative endorsement deal thus ensuring the futures of all the previously broke members? If you don’t immediately know the answers to all of these questions, you’ve probably never seen another dance movie in your life (and should bone up by watching some from my list of dance movies that don’t suck).
What is different about this particular film is that unlike most others in the genre, writers Duane Adler and Jenny Mayer are clearly attempting to urge their teenage demographic to not be apathetic about what goes on in the world around them by showing there are numerous ways to practice free speech, they just have to find the way that works best for them. It’s refreshing to see, especially for a series that has never exceled at anything other than providing dance sequences that are pure spectacle ““ which this one does in spades as well (LED-adorned ballerinas!).
Step Up Revolution may not be the best in the series (that honour goes to Step Up 2: The Streets) but it’s a dance movie with a pointe shoe dipping shallowly into the waters of political discourse. That’s certainly a Step Up in the right direction.
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