Out of all the artistic professions, I have the most trouble understanding why anyone would want to dance. Movies have taught me that no one sees the importance of popping and locking, and as a dancer, you're always being threatened with having your stuff taken away--whether it's the building you dance in, your home, a loved one, or your fancy education. At least 35% of a dancer's time goes to fighting The Man instead of practicing pliés. Step Up Revolution is an exercise in extremes--when the characters aren't busy crying over the same ol', same ol', they're dancing in some of the most unique, exciting setups ever produced that will make your eyes pop out of your head.
It's all up to the opening scene to set the tone for these films. And when SUR begins, the Miami sun is beating down on a street full of perfectly shiny cars filled with beautiful people. One of them (Ryan Guzman) says to his friend (Misha Gabriel), "You know we're going to end up in jail for this." For what, hot shirtless guy? All of a sudden, the code honk is given, and the beautiful people spill out of their cars and into the streets, blocking traffic with their parkour and robo-stilts, while the old people inside their Town Cars look confused. They've been flash-mobbed, and everyone is in on it. The girl carrying a suitcase? Her DJ deck is in there. The ominous-looking fellow carrying clear Plexiglas? Also part of the master plan. And the man pushing a fruit cart is recording it, because these are Dancers with a Plan. Their crew needs to get 10 million hits on Youtube in order to win $100,000. So they may be gyrating on hydraulic cars, y'all, but it's for a purpose.
The plan is to run around Miami filming their intricate flash mobs to keep getting hits, once they've clocked out on their bummer jobs at the resort hotel where they all work. If they get to wear bikinis to staff meetings it can't be that bad, right? Wrong. Peter Gallagher, less like his sad-bastard character in Burlesque and more like John Lithgow in Footloose with a dash of mustache-twirling, rules them all with an iron fist and wants to wipe out their ‘hood to build more fancy resorts. This is when the movie, already packed with phenomenal production value, becomes really fun. They begin performing Protest Art. Instead of just dancing on tables in restaurants or infiltrating museum exhibits, they take on corporations--which means they wear suits and smart hats and employ briefcases to illustrate how uptight, sterile, and uncaring corporations can be. All while it rains dollar bills. It's enough to make any of the 99% stand up and salute (and try to grab the floating dollar bills).
The DVD release of Coyote Ugly got it right with one the special features just the dancing scenes all edited together. When you have to choose between Piper Perabo playing the acoustic guitar and Tyra Banks serving whiskey sours while grinding on Bridget Moynahan, there's no contest. SUR will benefit from the same kind of treatment, because the story is pitifully predictable and flat, whereas the production value in the dancing scenes is unparalleled. Each one keeps getting better, all the way to the finish, which includes shipping crates, policemen, harnesses, the (fake) Mayor of Miami's amazing dance moves, and a great cameo for fans of the series. It was so impressive it almost didn't matter that they blew the ending in the last three lines of the film. I still dusted off my dope kicks and bought a plane ticket to Miami anyway.