Having not sat through any of the three previous Step Up films, I did briefly wonder if that would affect my enjoyment of this latest addition to the series. The short answer was no.
Step Up 4 (Miami Heat) dives straight into the dance action with a flashmob ‘attack’ on a main street in Miami; a super-stylish mini sound system is deployed, traffic is held up, cars join in on the dancing, a colourful glass sculpture/calling card is created and the cops only turn up once the imaginatively named ‘The Mob’ have departed to plan their next action.
The Mob want to produce the most watched video on YouTube so they can win a large wodge of cash, but it’s not really about the money, it’s about the dream or something. Problem is that being the most watched video on YouTube is no mean feat and they have plenty of feline competition.
Enter the bad guy property developer (Peter Gallagher) and his daughter Emily(Kathryn McCormick) who wants to be a professional dancer. While her father plots to destroy the down-at-heel but homely place where most of The Mob grew up, Emily and Mob co-creator Sean (Ryan Guzman) take a shine to each other and together they plot to turn The Mob’s dance art into protest art.
Step Up 4 elevates itself as a dance film, especially as a sequel, by having a story that concerns more than reputation, a doomed love affair or trying to repair some dancer’s self-worth. The script is a bit patchy in places but the overall feeling is that the dances are great, you can get interested in their cause and the two leads present a pretty much believable relationship. As far as the 3D goes, it’s ok but would be just as enjoyable in the ol’ 2 dimensions.
The weakest link was the rushed and seemingly ill thought-out ending, including many of the cliché scenes often present in dance films all within the last 10-15 mins, which was a shame because the rest of the film was engaging and not often cheesy. The acknowledgment of dance as a valid form of protest make the film very much of the moment, with activists of all causes looking to ever more interesting ways to get their point across.
Maryann has awarded Step Up 4 three Torches of Truth.