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Step Up 4: Miami Heat/Step Up 4 Revolution (3D)

7/10

Stars: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Cleopatra Coleman, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Tommy Dewey, Peter Gallagher, Mia Michaels, Megan Boone

Director: Scott Speer

While obviously it helps to have a plot, musicals are a genre where a simple-minded, hackneyed or just plain silly storyline can be salvaged by great dance numbers and/or songs. This gaudy urban fairytale, the fourth in the popular dance series, proves the point with its standard boy-meets girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets- girl plot decorated with a routine Capra-esque ‘Let the people speak!” subplot that sees residents of a Miami suburb threatened with having their ’unspoiled’ local neighbourhood destroyed and then transformed into a posh area by predatory hotelier Gallagher.

Here the standard star-crossed lovers are Gallagher’s daughter Hamilton and ‘Mob’ dancer Guzman whose burgeoning romance hits the buffers when he finds out who her father is.

The effective enough “Let the people speak!” storyline involves Guzman and his fellow dancers taking on Gallagher. Their extraordinary bursting-with-intensity opening number on a street in Miami’s upmarket South Beach area which has members of The Mob creating a traffic jam by stopping their cars, dancing on the road and on car roofs, sets the tone for a sets the tone for a series of dazzling, sensationally choreographed dance numbers delivered with enough energy to light up Miami itself that easily outshine the dramatic elements.

One number, in particular, set in a chic art gallery where paintings and statues unexpectedly come to life, is well worth the price of admission alone while other pleasures include cavorting cops and the Mayor of Miami breaking into dance at a public function designed to get Gallagher’s destructive development off the ground.

(Attractive Miami locations are well used and, a bonus for those television viewers who find CSI Miami’s posing policeman David Caruso becoming increasingly irksome; here he is nowhere to be seen).

Song, and, especially, dance, are the film’s key raison d’etre, and Speer’s direction sees to it that on that visceral level, Step Up 4 delivers.

What dramatic acting is required (which is very little) is competently enough delivered, leaving the dancing stars and Speer, impressively abetted by Karsten ‘Crash’ Gopinath’s first rate 3D cinematography (he convincingly throws sand into the audience’s eyes at one point), to step up and deliver a vivid, vibrant moviegoing experience.

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor/Prints by deluxe.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 05 Aug 2012