Published August 4, 2012 | 12:08 pm
Satyen K. Bordoloi
Film: “Step Up Revolution”; Cast: Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Cleopatra Coleman; Director: Scott Speer; Ratings: ***1/2
In essence, dance is about space and occupying space in a meaningful way. Business, incidentally, is also about occupying space. The not so literal occupation is when it takes over your mind-space and a very literal way is when it captures spaces of people to further its own interest.
It is interesting to see a film attempt to make the former, that is dance protest, against the latter, that is land grab.
In Miami, Sean (Ryan Guzman), a hotel waiter and his dance troupe ‘The Mob’, attempt to win an online flash dance competition to first reach a million hits on YouTube. He falls for a girl – Emily (Kathryn McCormick), who’s trying to get into professional dancing, but whose father is trying to take over the place that Sean and his crew and family live in.
Emily tells ‘The Mob’ that they could transform their ‘performance art’ to ‘protest art’ to speak out against the taking over of their space by her father.
In the last eight years, since the first “Step Up” became a raging hit with audiences, the world has seen a spate of similar dance film from different groups. For example, this is the fourth film in their franchise.
Most of these films have relied on good dance numbers and decent music to do the trick. Very few have even bothered enough with a story.
Thankfully “Revolution” does bother with a story. A little far fetched it might seem for reality, but their attempt to connect dance and protest, to explore the idea of ‘art vigilantes’ is praiseworthy.
And considering that its target audience is teens, this attempt to find meaning and to show the richest of the society the life and beauty of the lowest is highly appreciable.
By using an online competition where different dance group do not face off against each other, the film also smartly finds time and space to build a story. It also has nice choreography, instead of rushing from one dance number to another.
The breathing space that this affords, gives the film an edge which many dance films have lacked. Jamal Sims’ choreography is more about dance as ‘performance’ and beauty rather than being just about the wackiest and weirdest moves by his dancers.
Despite the cliched plot of rich girl poor boy, the rich taking over the poor with the latter protesting, the subplots of brotherly misunderstanding among others, the coming together of all of these backed by some really good dance numbers, does make for a decent and fairly enjoyable dance film.