Reviewing the fourth film in the Step Up series is difficult.
For those not in the know, the series began in 2006 and first starred Channing Tatum (Magic Mike). Plots are plopped into and worked around brilliant dance routines. Each film has a different cast of characters, and a bit different and very loose premise.
That's loose with a capital "L."
Step Up Revolution can be seen in ordinary two-dimensions or in exceptional 3D. Set in Miami, dancers calling themselves "The Mob" just show up places, dance up a storm, then disappear.
Later, a video of their performance is posted on YouTube. Led by Sean and Eddy, the group is trying to win $100,000 in a contest. The plot evolves from there into conflict with a rich developer wanting to tear down the old neighborhood that inspires their dancing.
The not-so-surprising twist — the developer's daughter Emily is a dancer.
She's done by Kathryn McCormick, who falls for Mob leader Sean played by Ryan Guzman who is practically a Channing Tatum clone. Both are very pretty people in a movie packed with pretty people. There isn't one ugly person in the movie. Dozens of scantily clad, beautiful bods dot the skyline. There is so much eye candy in Step Up Revolution that I worried about getting a cavity.
This is where things get complicated and I am going to completely confuse you. The movie is very good. It's also not very good. In fact, it's awful. The dancing in Step Up Revolution is incredible. And it isn't.
Like I said, it's a bit confusing.
Let's start with the plot. Even predictable isn't normally this predictable. Reality exists nowhere in the story. Directed by first timer Scott Speer and written by first-time writer, Jenny Mayer, the characters from A to Z are cliche, and the dialogue is laughable. In fact, I laughed out loud several times at lines delivered during "serious" discussions.
And none of the lead characters can act. They can -- however -- dance. And while the plot flops, the dance does not.
I have complaints here, too and this is the part where I tell you the dancing is incredible and it isn't. The choreography is exceptional, and the dancers and dancing are planted in wonderfully designed sets and scenes.
Unfortunately, every dance has five seconds of a move, then an edit. Ten seconds. Edit. Two seconds. Edit. The camera, the editor and the director provide the movement and the choreography, and give the dances their rhythm, not the dancers.
Step Up Revolution is more music video than movie. We can see music videos anytime. YouTube and the music TV networks are full of them. These dancers are very, very good. Why not let us really see them dance?
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Director: Scott Speer
Stars: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Peter Gallagher
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.