Summit Entertainment // 2012 // 99 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // December 4th, 2012
One step can change your world.
I've never understood people who don't like musicals. I don't mean people who are picky and only like certain musicals, I mean people who claim they can't get into musicals because it's "unrealistic" seem strange to me; we accept so many "unrealistic" elements in just about every movie that to arbitrarily draw a line in the sand and say "People breaking out into song is too unrealistic" when a movie featuring a rich guy in a cape or the god of thunder lights up the box office like nobody's business. However, after Step Up: Revolution (Blu-ray), I feel a little more sympathetic with musical haters, but for the opposite reason. I wish that more non-musical dance films would spontaneously incorporate dance rather than using one of the three or four plots that get people dancing (usually a variation on the "save our school" or "competition" narratives). Step Up: Revolution strives mightily against this constraint -- incorporating a flash mob-based dance crew for maximum chaos -- but still struggles against a trite love story at its core.
Emily (Kathryn McCormick, Fame) has professional dance dreams, but when her father moves her to Miami, she falls in with the Mob, a dance crew led by Sean (Ryan Guzman). However, there's trouble in paradise because the neighborhood where the Mob practices their elaborate dance moves is on the chopping block for redevelopment by a wealthy businessman -- a businessman who just happens to be Emily's father. Can she dance her way out of this mess?
Unless you're on the lookout for the next Channing Tatum, there are only a few reasons to watch Step Up: Revolution, which really boil down to one: watching young hardbodies strut their stuff in sweet contemporary dance moves accompanied by new music. I won't even pretend to know how much street cred the dancing in Revolution would earn, but I can say that the dancing is well-choreographed and the editing and cinematography don't try to upstage the dancers. The music is blandly inoffensive contemporary dance music; it'll have people tapping their toes but I don't predict any breakout singles.
The young men and women are also sufficiently attractive to please the target audience for the film as well. The men demonstrate single-digit body fat, and the ladies are all have the lithe bodies of a dancer. Because the setting is Miami, we have plenty of excuses to get the guys topless and the ladies in their bikinis. The beachside locales also mean that people are generally very wet, from sweat or sea spray, or just because bodies look sexier with a bit of moisture on them. Though perhaps only the Florida tourism board (who have a commercial on this Blu-ray disc) have a stake in it, Miami looks pretty amazing as well.
Everything about the film works on this Blu-ray disc. Both 2D and 3D versions are included on one disc (and the set also contains Ultraviolet and iTunes Digital copies). The 2.40:1/1080p AVC-encoded transfer is near-perfect. Colors are bold and well-saturated, detail is strong in wide shots and closeups, and black levels are consistent and deep. The 3D effects are the worst sorts of gimmicks, largely throwing stuff at the camera during dance sequences. The DTS-HD 7.1 track is even better. From a booming low end to the highest voice the music sounds impressive and immersive with this mix. Dialogue is well-balanced, and directionality is spot-on.
Extras start with a commentary featuring director Scott Speer and his stars Guzman and McCormick. The trio are talkative for most of the running time, informally sharing stories about the making of the film. Four featurettes follow, covering different aspects of the dancing, a handful of deleted scenes, and two music videos: one for JLo featuring Flo Rida and the other with Timbaland and Ne-Yo.
By the fourth entry, any franchise is essentially critique proof. Either the filmmakers have found the formula for box-office gold, or they've gone so far off the rails that no one is paying attention. Step Up: Revolution is a bit of both. It's definitely perfected the Step Up formula. This film is so formulaic it can be painful at times, and in that way, it's also gone off the rails. Pretty much every story beat has been done to death in a thousand other dance films, and Revolution adds nothing to the formula to make it stand out.
For those wondering if Step Up: Revolution offered something revolutionary, rest assured that it's the same formulaic dance-off kind of movie we've come to expect in the twenty-first century. For fans of the film or the franchise, though, rest assured that Step Up: Revolution (Blu-ray) is a great way to see the film. Unless you're a diehard fan already, though, this disc is probably only worth a rental.
Review content copyright © 2012 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Summit Entertainment
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* 2D Version
* Deleted Scenes
* Music Videos
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download