Occupiers: Step it up. Your campouts are for Cub Scouts. Y’all need to learn to dance. Aggressively. Get up. Get down. Pop. Lock. Spin on your head. Do the worm. The world will stop and listen.
For proof, look at the Step Up series. These films, now numbering four with the release of Revolution, seldom break formula: Cinderella meets Prince Charming. They connect pelvises on the dance floor. One dreams of dance school, the other leads a ragtag bunch of dancers to save their club or rec center or neon warehouse from a rival who is related to the girl somehow. They fall in love, have a falling out, and quit dancing in a reflective montage. At the last minute, they rejoin their crew and dance the shit out of the rival, saving the rec center and changing the world.
This is a series that believes in the simple evolutionary tactic of doing the same thing each time, only with increasingly cooler props. In the last installment, the franchise introduced laser shirts. Revolution moves the heat to Miami, allowing the film to explore 3-D butt cheeks in salsa bars and the benefits of bungee cords, hydraulic El Caminos…and laser hats. The result is as visceral as most action flicks: These are athletes in highly choreographed routines so jaw-dropping the recycled story never matters. Look at those abs! Look at those laser hats!
The revolution here is that the formula breaks: There’s no rival dance crew. Just the Mob, a multi-culti flash mob branded heroic by some and criminals by others when they burst into the streets to perform “protest art.” They face two foes. The first is the evil “Meow Dubstep Mashup,” an Internet meme out-clicking them on YouTube. But shit gets really real when an evil developer played by Peter Gallagher (!!) seeks to turn their ’hood into a hotel.
So how do you save your neighborhood, get the girl and bring the ruckus? You know the answer. OK, maybe a flash mob dancing in suits as money rains on them in a financial center is a bit heavy-handed for a teenybopper movie. But these kids at least did something. You lazy-asses just sat in a park. Learn to crunk. And get some laser pants. The world depends on it. PG-13.
Critic’s Grade: B
SEE IT: Step Up Revolution opens Friday at Lloyd Center, Cedar Hills, Eastport, Cornelius, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen Parkway, Movies On TV, Sherwood, Tigard.