Film Reviews

Step Up Revolution: Kinetic and Corny

Hot on the heels of The Dark Knight Rises comes another ideologically incomprehensible — if rather more kinetic and shamelessly corny — manifestation of Occupy unrest–as–spectacle. The fourth installment of the Step Up franchise, Revolution lays its scene in economically divided Miami. Sean (Ryan Guzman), an allegedly low-born waiter at a posh hotel, spends his free time choreographing flash-mob numbers for his multimedia troupe, The Mob, working toward winning a YouTube contest, which inspires howlers suchas "We gotta build on our momentum and generate more hits." En route, Sean meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick), an aspiring dancer and the daughter of the developer (Peter Gallagher) who wants to bulldoze Sean's neighborhood, news that galvanizes The Mob into activism. "It's not OK to make art fun anymore," says new Mob recruit Emily. "Enough with performance art — it's time for protest art." The production numbers, every bit as giddily improbable as the dialogue, include a bounding lowrider rodeo on South Beach's Ocean Drive, a chameleonic art gallery infiltration and, during The Mob's militant period, a conceptual corporate-drone number which incorporates raining dollars and the clear message "Not 4 Sale." That sentiment lasts exactly as long as it takes for Nike to offer The Mob a contract after spotting their "edgy" style — the adaptable elasticity of capitalism once again spelling the death of revolution.

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Nick Pinkerton