Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Movie Review
In a noble but poor neighbourhood under a stack of bridges by the Miami River, Sean (Guzman) and his pal Eddy (Gabriel) lead an underground dance crew called The Mob to perform flash-mob antics in picturesque locations. Their goal is to win an online competition and go pro. Then Sean meets Emily (McCormick), whose property tycoon dad (Gallagher) wants to destroy Sean's neighbourhood to build another glitzy development. While trying to make her own way in dance school, Emily hides her identity to join The Mob and take on Dad.
Director Speer blands down Miami with glowy lighting, swirling mist and hosed-down streets. Not to mention faux-ethnic characters and dancing that's choreographed to within an inch of our noses (although the 3D is only effective in the climactic mega-dance). All of this is photographed by someone named Crash in a way that never quite captures the adrenaline of the street performances or the emotions of the characters.
Amid this sea of cliches, Gallagher lends the film some steeliness, although his misty-eyed moments are laughable. Guzman is strikingly photogenic, even if he doesn't have much presence as either a romantic lead or a dancer. But then the film essentially neuters him, allowing him only a couple of chaste kisses and some grinding, shirtless dance moves. McCormick is more expressive in a role that actually has some layers. And her dancing is beautiful.
In the end, this corny and under-developed movie is an engaging guilty pleasure. We never feel an inkling of suspense, nor do we believe that a group of scruffy but talented performers could stage any of these elaborately spectacular stunts, which would cost a small fortune to mount. But they look so relentlessly cool, and the central romance is so shamelessly cute, that we find ourselves smiling all the way through it.