MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on Movies: Step Up Revolution

STEP UP REVOLUTION (One and a Half Stars)

U.S.: Scott Speer, 2012


You don’t have to be a nincompoop to want to see something like Step Up Revolution, but it probably helps. The fourth in the “Step Up” series, which gave the world Channing Tatum in its first outing, and this time settles for male model Ryan Guzman (as Sean) and dancer Kathryn McCormick (as Emily), this is a ludicrous example of what you might call the “Hey Kids! Let’s put on a flash mob, and get it on You Tube!“ musical, a slick-quick-and-dumb-as-a-brick movie, shot in Miami, that has no apparent rationale except to get a bunch of buff kids, led by Guzman and McCormick, slithering and hopping and flash mobbing and dirty-dancing away to recorded music by talent like J.Lo, M.I.A., M83 and Far East Movement (all news to me).

Excuse me, I completely forgot the revolution. Simultaneously, in the midst of all this hopping and slithering and deejaying, the movie tries to   justify itself to picky (or gullible) audiences and critics, by including an allegedly socially conscious plot. All those (gifted) buff jumpers and butt wigglers, led by Guzman and his chum Eddy (Misha Gabriel)  in a Miami Beach group and flash mob they call The Mob, are actually staging dance-protests, to prevent the destruction of their neighborhood by  Mr. Anderson  (Peter Gallagher), a greedy real-estate developer who wants to build a huge hotel complex  over the ruins  — and then maybe build himself a Miami home modeled on Buckingham Palace or Elsinore — and who conveniently turns out to be Emily’s dad and gosh, you know, not such a bad guy after all.

Oh, excuse me, I completely forgot the love story. In the midst of all this class warfare, Sean and Emily meet at the local resort, where he’s a waiter, and she’s daddy’s daughter and  she wants to be a star dance student and  dancer and thinks the Mob can teach her a few moves, and he wants to put on a few moves himself. It’s Romeo. It’s Juliet. It’s, I don’t know, fate. She’s a rich girl. He’s a poor boy — who just scrapes by on his waiter’s salary, enough to afford a huge loft, all kinds of elaborate electronics equipment (including video), and whatever they pay (or don’t pay) the rest of the Mob, and their choreographers, and their designers, and whoever plans their schedules so they can run around dancing at traffic jams and disrupting speeches by Gallagher the developer and the Mayor. (This guy either gets some tips, or he’s moonlighting with Tatum.)

It’s a classic love story, set to the pulsing beat of J.Lo and M83, or whomever — and I just couldn‘t wait to watch those heart-pumping hot-clinch Step Up revolutionary love scenes, or whatever they were. Not since Frankie and Annette and the Beach Parties of American International (whose crucial links to Step Up Revolution Roger Ebert has helpfully pointed out), have I been so moved.

It’s sometimes said that if you put a hundred (or maybe a million) monkeys on typewriters (computers now) and monitored the results, eventually they’d come up with the complete plays of Shakespeare, or at least Neil Simon‘s first five. I’ll go a step further (up). I think all those monkeys, on their very first try, could have written a better script than this, even if they could only manage zzzzzzzzzzzzz, repeated a million times. And I’m not trying to diss the screenwriter, who was, I’m sure, doing exactly what they wanted.

Recently, I’ve been suggesting that Hollywood make more musicals, but what I had in mind were new movie adaptations of all the  great Brodway shows they’ve missed (by Stephen Sondheim and others), or movies that were showcases for our best pop stars and dancers and singers and musical actors (what happened to the movie careers Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin should have had?) — not glorified underwear ads, rock video schlock  and deejay spinups. Here, producer Adam Shankman (Rock of Ages) and director Scott Speer, enablers of a fairly swanky production (with good dancers), give us something that reminds us how many  trivial, third-rate musicals Hollywood produced in its heyday. It’s a movie that makes Beach Blanket Bingo look like La Traviata.

Excuse me, I completely forgot myself. I exaggerate, of course, It makes Beach Blanket Bingo look like Viva Las Vegas.


Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Wilmington on Movies: Step Up Revolution”

  1. Walter says:

    People go see movies like this for the DANCING, not the plot. You never do say how the DANCING was. I’ll just bet it was unbelievably good!


awesome stuff. OK I would like to contribute as well by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to modify. check it out at All custom premade files, many of them totally free to get. Also, check out Dow on: Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more ...

cool post. OK I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to customize. check it out at All custom templates, many of them dirt cheap or free to get. Also, check out Downlo on: Wilmington on Movies: I'm Still Here, Soul Kitchen and Bran Nue Dae

awesome post. Now I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some beautiful and easy to modify. take a look at All custom premade files, many of them free to get. Also, check out DownloadSoho.c on: MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon