In what has been a quite entertaining series of unconnected films, beginning with the surprise hit 2006 original, it’s significant for launching the Hollywood career of none other than man of the moment Channing Tatum.
In part 4, the revolution of dance combat continues in a plot, believe it or not, lifted from the avant-garde retro favourite ‘Breakdance 2 Electric Boogaloo’. Along the boulevard of the sun-drenched beaches of Miami, for a freelance movement gang, it’s their second home and the place where a hard day’s work always involves dancing in the streets. Predominantly a flash mob crew, popping up at random locations unannounced to show off their cavorting with a boom box hanging over-head, is most satisfactory to them all. New in town, Penelope is a pretty girl looked upon as an outsider as she drifts towards the crew and their open air performances, guess what, she is an aspiring dancer too. It’s all good Penelope believes in the beat tempted in what she sees.
Eventually befriended by the leader of the gang Sean, flirtation leads to dance-off time proving her acceptance and in the process young love forms between the jiving duo. Unfortunately, a wealthy tycoon threatens to build a hotel in the very spot where they dance, and he also happens to be Penelope’s loving but determined father. The kids decide to retaliate and turn up to City Hall council meetings intent on disrupting procedures with flash mob performances of flying hats, magic fingers and somersaults through the chambers. The adults go nuts and call the seemingly clueless bike riding Miami Police; where’s Crockett & Tubbs of Miami Vice when you need them?
The urban community stand up and is the perfect excuse to twist and shout. Even the kind old man who owns their favourite restaurant turns into a messiah of sorts to help the local ‘fly’ kids on the block. Miami provides a spectacular mirage of sweaty locations for these young athletes to bop the days away to a street beat wearing a hybrid of colourful costumes, but something is missing. Clearly the weakest entry in the ‘Step Up’ franchise has lost none of it’s addictive fun or vigour, as cool as it looks, the series has stalled, at least ‘Electric Boogaloo’ has a sense of nostalgic charm.
Most of the exuberant cast look star struck in close-up but boy can they move in unison, seductive and eye popping jam sessions are only the beginning. The magnificently named Cleopatra Coleman hails from Byron Bay, a ten episode ‘veteran’ of Australian TV show Neighbours, she plays Penelope with evocative rhythm, not only showcasing high end dance moves, but strong dramatic poise in various confrontations opposite old caterpillar eyes, Peter Gallagher (The O.C.) as her Dad. Accomplished and no stranger to the rumba, Gallagher also appeared in ‘Burlesque’ and rocked the ballet in ‘Centre Stage.’ Who knows, if ‘Flashdance’ is remade, he might get a call up.
The routines themselves are worth seeing in surprisingly effective 3D; however, it’s actually just classy filler between the mostly ponderous serious moments in a diminished screenplay.
Step Up Revolution is now playing in theaters!
Shane A. Bassett is a contributor for TheYoungFolks.com. Read more about him on our Partners & Contributors page.