REVIEW: The third sequel to "Step Up" moves the action to Miami and folds in a plot about flash-mob dance videos and urban renewal.
"Step Up Revolution" taps into the dance "flash mob" phenomenon and moves to Miami to give us the sunniest and most entertaining of these kids-gotta-dance musicals.
The flash mobs -- in traffic, on rooftops and on hoods and trunks of low-rider vintage cars in Miami traffic -- are brilliantly choreographed, well shot and sharply edited.
Sean (Ryan Guzman) is the heart and soul of "The Mob," a Miami dance crew that has its own DJ (Cleopatra Coleman), hacker/planner (Misha Hamilton), dancer/special-effects guy (Stephen Boss) and street artist who "tags" each of their events with "The Mob" (Michael Langebeck). That's not to mention their parkour "stunt" specialists and the videographer who hides his camera in the darndest places whenever they go out on "a mission."
The crew wants to attract so many YouTube hits with their videos that they win a contest and collect some cash. Because these dancers are from the one underdeveloped corner of Miami riverfront left -- and the wrong side of the tracks.
Sean and Eddy (Hamilton) work in a swank hotel whose owner (Peter Gallagher) has designs on the neighborhood the dancers call home. But his daughter Emily (Kathryn McCormick) is a dancer, too.
Emily needs to free herself to have a shot at breaking into a daring local professional dance troupe. Sean needs cash and to be noticed, to have "a voice." And the crew will need help from kids from the earlier "Step Up" movies to pull off their biggest mission.
Director Scott Speer knows where to point his camera, knows how to cut to the beat. Everything from parkour-style stunts and mime to salsa, crunking and interpretive dance is showcased. And tapping into flash mobs, those Internet-posted delights in which singers or dancers show up, en masse, and delight a mall, a train station or a city street? Inspired.
But it's not just the choreography that sells this over-familiar story. Speer peoples the screen with legions of jaw-droppingly gorgeous dancers, actors and extras -- shaking what they've got in 3-D. Whatever Miami got for posing as the 1980s Sunset Strip for "Rock of Ages," this underscripted, super-sexy cinematic postcard is the one the tourist board should post on its website.
Come to Miami. Bring your bikini. And your dancing shoes.