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Step Up Revolution

See how a flash mob of dancers saves Miami from a new retail development

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The fourth iteration of the Step Up street-dancing franchise is set in sunny Miami, and opens with a crackerjack set piece in which dancers shut down the main drag in South Beach. Well-toned, limber young people materialize out of the crowd, mount glossily painted low-riders and shakeshakeshake in sync, while others of their crew film the flash mob and hastily construct a three-dimensional piece of self-identifying graffiti ("The Mob"). 

The Mob is ethnically diverse, the beats are hip hop, and the low-riders are popping up and down, but this scene is a direct descendent of the surreal, synchronized-dance set-pieces that film director Busby Berkeley created in the 1930s. And what pleasures Scott Speer's film has to offer are simply the rest of the big dance numbers — from a flash mob in an art gallery with "living art" to an Occupy-ish break-out staged in an office building. (Recent events in Colorado will make the flash mob that finds the crew tossing smoke bombs into a restaurant and emerging from the cloud in combat gear and gas masks seem less entertaining.) 

The rest of the film is just formulaic and tedious filler — from the rich girl who wants to dance, to her developer dad who is gonna pave over The Mob's hood. Revolution ends with a huge dockside number staged to show the developer how important it is to the community to be able to dance all over shipping containers. Spoiler alert: Things go well for The Mob, whose anti-corporate street-fighting spirit is instantly co-opted by a global consumer giant, doling out cash. And so the beat goes on.

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