Before I start this review, let me preface this by saying I'm a fan of musicals. Some of my favorite films are of the musical variety such as 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'Rocky Horror Picture Show.' I'm also an avid fan of dance and dancing in film. I grew up watching James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Fred Astaire, and I even practiced their moves while viewing their movies and music videos. There was a certain quality to them that has not been lived up to in a long time.
I've also noticed that tons of people actually enjoy watching random people or D-list celebrities dance and make fools of themselves on national television or YouTube. Maybe that's why these 'Step Up' films are so popular. Why can't we have more films like 'Singing in the Rain' or 'West Side Story?' I'm not sure what the answer is, but these 'Step Up' films have got to go, or at least be a better embodiment of talent.
'Step Up: Revolution' is the 4th installment in the franchise, and I think it wanted to be an actual remake of 'Dirty Dancing,' since the story-lines are so similar. I imagine Kenny Ortega took one look at the script, laughed, and lit the script on fire. At least that's what I would have done. Then Ortega just thought to remake 'Dirty Dancing' himself, which he is currently doing... Good for him?
How much is this 4th installment like 'Dirty Dancing?' We follow Emily (Kathryn McCormick) who is a fire cracker of a young woman who just wants her life to be about dancing, so she moves to Miami (probably because the Will Smith video told her to). Low and behold, she meets a hot and charming guy named Sean (Ryan Guzman), who works at the local resort and happens to lead a large group of dancers who perform as flash mobs. These flash mobs are famous for their insane and difficult dance choreography around the city. Sound a bit familiar?
Well, as it turns out, Emily has a father (Peter Gallagher) who is a successful land developer who is also in Miami to start construction of a new high end community full of resorts and high rises. This just happens to be the same location of Sean's neighborhood and the flash mob stomping grounds. Dumm Dumm Dummmmm!
As soon as Emily and Sean do the vertical mambo, they fall in love and Emily is torn between Sean and her father's ambitions. Emily's father wants her to stay out of his business as he will with her dancing. Sean and his flash mob find out about this horrific news and take to the world wide web to get the word out and strengthen their profile and awareness. Just before the new development is set in motion, Sean and his minions, and of course Emily show up and perform a dance number to show the corporate people just how amazing it is to dance, all in hopes of saving the neighborhood. Here is where you realize you have wasted a good chunk of your day.
The acting is atrocious in this film. The only thing this film has going for it is the somewhat intense and fun dance routines, but mostly it's all very cheesy and ridiculous. Hell, there's even a vehicle dance number. Yes, cars that dance.
'Step Up: Revolution' is a fast-paced, quick cutting film that goes nowhere and has nothing to offer besides flashy images and annoying characters and dialogue. This is for fans only.
The video presentation is... quite nice. You can view the film in its 2D format or its 3D format, both of which have a 1080p HD transfer and come in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The image itself is rather entertaining and vibrant, boasting tons of color and depth.
The shots are very flashy, fast, and sweeping. Think Michael Bay, but for dance. The colors are vibrant and very accurate. The flesh tones are natural and smooth, with very fine detail. The exterior scenes show nice depth. The black levels are deep and inky and I noticed no halos or aliasing. Man, if only the film itself were as good as the the video presentation.
The 3D effects are fun but blatant. At one point, some of the actors throw sand at the camera. But it adds some great depth to the film. Does this movie need to be in 3D? No, but that's the latest trend nowadays, and why shouldn't the 'Step Up' franchise get in on the action.
Wow. This audio track is demo worthy. 'Step Up: Revolution' comes with a lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Audio mix that can also work with that new Neo X 11.1 system. Not sure if an 11.1 system will really catch on, but if it does, this isn't the film to really utilize such a system. That being said, the 7.1 is incredible.
The dynamics span a wide range, with the dialogue crystal clear and free of any hissing or cracks. This is a booming and very loud soundtrack. The music is mostly hip-hop and rap, which means the sub woofer gets a work out and is the dominant audio feature in the dance sequences. Prepare your house to rumble. The surrounds get some good play. I was thoroughly impressed with this audio presentation.
It's amazing there have been at least 4 of these 'Step Up' films, and I'm not even counting the spin-offs. Surprisingly, these do fairly well at the box office, but as far as 'Step Up: Revolution' goes, its cheesiness, awful acting, and downright horrible script earn the movie zero stars. However, the video and audio presentations are top notch here. This is a good disc for a bad, bad flick.