STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT 3D
Emily (Kathryn McCormick) arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a young man who leads The Mob, a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs. Emily's developer father Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher) however, wants her to forget her aspirations and work in his hotel business. Meanwhile, as he announces plans to develop The Mob's waterfront neighbourhood into a new commercial development, the group plans a daring performance to save the waterfront.
Review by Louise Keller:
Using contempo flash mob dazzle with eye-boggling dance routines laced with sensuality, this fourth film in the franchise (in 3D) takes a leap into the appeal stakes, upping the ante in terms of innovation as all different aesthetics of dance and movement are uncompromisingly pressed together. The formula remains essentially the same with a competition element, a torrid romance and a storyline in which dreams are pursued - this time by breaking the rules. The contrast of classical and contemporary dance with hip and funky movement is a stimulating mix resulting in a sexy, upbeat, energizing experience that makes you want to move in your seat, tap your toes and let your heart race.
Set in Miami, there's a distinct contrast between the pizzazz of the palm trees and bikini babes and the neighbourhood where Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) live. They might work as waiters by day at the upmarket hotel owned by Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher), but their passion lies in the innovation behind the flash mob events they create. Seeing is believing and in the opening flash mob sequence, the team spontaneously appears on car roof tops as they perform their acrobatic dance routines. Like me, you will probably need to look twice, but incredibly the cars start dancing too - on two and three wheels. Each event is planned like a Mission Impossible bank heist and secretly filmed and uploaded on YouTube. That's the twist on the competition element. Instead of competing against other dance teams as in previous films, the aim is for the clip to go viral which by generating the most hits, will win the large cash prize.
Objectives change and the stakes grow higher when performance art becomes protest art, as the group makes protest statements when their home turf is threatened by development. The fact that the developer (Gallagher) is the father of Emily (Kathryn McCormack), the beautiful dancer with whom Sean has fallen in love, adds the predictable relationship conflict. The beach scene in which Sean and Emily meet is a perfect example of dirty dancing - in a mix of one-upmanship and provocative movements. Guzman and McCormack have great chemistry together and we have no difficulty in believing their evolving relationship. The choreography on the beach at sunset is also intensely sexual. Incredibly, Ryan Guzman, who plays the protagonist Sean, has never danced professionally, but comes from a mixed martial arts background. McCormack, known through So You Think You Can Dance is leggy and lovely and both do a reasonable job in the acting stakes.
There are very few plot surprises but visually there are many, including the piece de resistance, being the routine set in the art gallery, where dancers wear body paint to match the statues and art hanging on the walls. The film delivers everything you expect and plenty more. It's hot in Miami and the dance moves sizzle.
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STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT 3D (M)
CAST: Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman, Adam G. Sevani, Stephen Boss, Chad Smith, Mia Michaels, Mari Koda,
PRODUCER: Erik Feig, Jennifer Gibgot, Nan Morales, Adam Shankman, Patrick Wachsberger
DIRECTOR: Scott Speer
SCRIPT: Jenny Mayer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Karsten Gopinath
EDITOR: Matt Friedman, Avi Youabian
MUSIC: Aaron Zigman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carlos Menendez
RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Universal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 2, 2012