(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 5 August 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/a-symphony-of-protest)
Cast: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Peter Gallagher and others
Director: Scott Speer
Rating: 4 stars
Revolution is the first movie I’ve seen in the Step Up series. I went in expecting a cloying romance, and a story that is simply incidental to a display of acrobatics, flexibility and photography. I left with my mind changed about Hugo being the movie in which 3D has been used best. Hell, for this experience, I’d have been content if the story involved a dog-cat-mouse love triangle.
We’re introduced to The Mob with a burst of adrenaline-pumping music and a dance sequence where even the cars join in as dancers tip them by jumping on their hoods. And while we have no clue who on earth The Mob is, or what they want, we pretty much know they’re a bunch of college-age kids who need to be “heard”.
We find out they’re a group led by Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel), and they’re pretty selfish. A professional flash mob, their big goal is to win a $100,000 prize in a YouTube contest to reach 10 million hits. When they belatedly take up a cause against the big buck corporate houses, it’s a selfish cause too – they’re not speaking for America or The Other 99%, they’re saving their own homes.
Of course, poor little rich girl Emily (Kathryn McCormick) enters the picture, and you know she’ll eventually cause a rift in the group when one of its key members starts hitting on her. And, of course, these misguided kids will be helped on to the Right Path by a father-figure.
Despite a thin storyline, Step Up Revolution manages not to become a cloying teen drama. There are real disappointments, and real fairytale endings, and real compromises. The choreography by Jamal Sims is breathtaking, and the photography by Crash superlative. The most enjoyable sequence in the film is a mesmerising mob movement in The Miami Museum of International Arts and Culture.
The movie is nicely-paced, with just enough dialogue between the dances. The comebacks are well-timed, and a running gag involving the filming of the mob’s work is hilarious. The rather predictable eccentricity of the mob’s graffiti artist is offset his creative excellence.
The actors, most of whom are first-timers, are earnest enough to make you want them to beat the odds. Sometimes, you’re so much with the movie that even the clichés hit home. At other times, you may have sudden visions of Team Anna – umm, Party Anna – playing Flash Mob while Baba Ramdev videos them. Anyway, it all builds up to a scintillating climactic performance that lasts just as long as it should.
The Verdict: If you enjoy any form of dance, you’ll love the movie.