The Step Up franchise is a bit like Glee – you watch it for the musical performances, or in this case, the dancing. If you focus too much on the cheesy lines, the cliché of a storyline and the ordinary acting performances, you’ll miss it for what is actually is – an edgy dance film showcasing some of the worlds’ best upcoming contemporary dancers.
In a beach setting with bikini-clad waitresses, Step Up 4 steers away from its traditional loser-kid-finds-dance-and-wins-at-life story and into a new road – the hype of the flashmob. In Miami, where there is an invisible line between the upper and lower classes of society, “The Mob” – a group of contemporary dancers, Parkour practitioners, street artists and DJs – try to make themselves heard by secretly organising public flashmob dances, which are then filmed and put on YouTube.
These performances are by far the highlight of the film. Choreographed by Christopher Scott, Travis Wall and Jesus Chuck Maldonado, each performance is completely individual and eye-catching, down to the costumes, props and set. It’s not entirely necessary to see them in 3D, but they are worth watching if dance is your thing.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Step Up film without a love story and so intertwined with the rise of The Mob is the budding relationship between Sean (Guzman), a bartender from the slums of Miami and newcomer Emily (McCormick), daughter of wealthy business developer Mr Anderson (Gallagher), who wants to redevelop the homes and livelihoods of many Miami locals into part of his empire. And of course, The Mob aims to stop him through the power of dance.
It’s not a film that makes you think, nor does it involve memorable characters. But it certainly will make you wish you could step up and dance like these people can.