film review: Step Up 4: Miami Heat (2012)1 Comment
Did you enjoy Step Up?
No? Well then you probably shouldn’t see Step Up 4: Miami Heat.
Yes? Then happy days! There’s a new movie out that you’ve gotta see!
This latest installment of the premier dance movie franchise hit our screens on Friday and while it does have a new writer, Amanda Brody, fans of the films need not fear. Brody has stay relatively true to the dance movie formula. Everything you’ve come to expect and love of the Step Up films is here. Cheesy dialogue, ridiculously fit and good looking people, an improbable romance, a desperate need to dance for money to save a local hangout… and, of course, big dance set pieces.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m not being ironic or facetious. I love dance movies when they’re done properly. Could there be better dialogue? Sure. Do they always needs to have an improbable romance? Not really. Does it always have to be about money? Perhaps not. Would I be disappointed if they left any of this out? Absolutely. The dance movie is basically an action flick where they substitute explosions for backflips. You have to hit your tropes or your audience will rebel.
I went into Step Up 4: Miami Heat with paradoxically high, low expectations and it didn’t disappoint.
But… that’s not to say that Step Up 4 is just another dance flick. While the film does follow a tried and tested formula, this new writer has added her own spin on it. It might seems a little ridiculous but the heart of Step Up 4 is about starting a revolution against big money and yes, about the little guy stepping up. The film is even known as Step Up Revolution in the US.
Now, of course, all the films have been about “stepping up” but Step Up 4 does this on a much grander scale. When a giant robot art installation opens its suitcase to reveal the words “We Are Not 4 Sale” you realise this might not be an entirely a run of the mill dance movie.
The scale of the revolution might be a little short of epic, the lords and ladies of the dance are aiming to save a neighbourhood, not exactly start an economic revolution… but you’ve got to give them credit. I would have never thought I’d see the day when “revolution” in a dance movie didn’t mean a new fusion of dance styles.
All this without taking about the dancing. I guess it goes a little without saying but the dancing is spectacular. First time feature director, Scott Speer, and Amanda Brody’s vision for The Mob eschews the usual dance competition format, I have to admit I did miss seeing other different dance troupes performing, but I could overlook it. Essentially the set pieces are all conducted flash mob style in public places. They make fantastic use of the spaces including a jaw-dropping piece in an art gallery. Don’t ask how a supposed flash mob pulled them off though.
And, I can’t really leave you without mentioning the cinematography of the dance scenes… Both Speer and the cinematographer, Karsten Gopinath (credited as Crash), are seasoned advertising and music video makers and, along with the help of the editors, are eminently able to shoot and construct fast cut scenes without losing their essence.
While there’s no missing the details in the shooting, the fast style does make it a little difficult to resolve the images in 3D. Some of the action looked quite jerky and it was a little irksome. There are some good 3D scenes but nothing on the level of that great water dance off in Step Up 3D so you won’t be missing much if you end up seeing it in 2D.
Standard of acting? Well, let’s not worry about that kind of thing.