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Step Up 4: Miami Heat

Step Up 4: Miami Heat

Released 10 August 2012
Director Scott Speer
Starring




Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel, Cleopatra Coleman, Stephen Boss, Tommy Dewey, Peter Gallagher
Writer(s) Amanda Brody
Producer(s)


Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, Patrick Wachsberger, Eric Feig
Origin United States
Running Time 97 minutes
Genre Drama, dance
Rating PG
70

Disco inferno.

Friends, a miracle has occurred. Step Up has been resurrected. Two years ago I bid a fond farewell to the series after an over-reliance on pointy 3D, kooky characters and that irritating robot man in the third film killed the franchise stone dead. But lo, from the grave springs Step Up 4: Miami Heat, twitching like a recently re-animated corpse attempting the electric boogaloo. Yes, the 3D is still counter-productive but on the whole, a change of cast and scenery has given the series the shot in the arm it desperately needed.

Of course, you may argue that the only shot Step Up needs is one to its metaphorical head. If this is the case, Miami Heat isn’t going to convince you otherwise. The plot is a slight variation on the one the series has used all along; a promising classical dancer (Emily played by Kathryn McCormick) meets a hip hop dancer from the wrong sides of the track (Sean played by Ryan Guzman). As Emily trains to join a professional company and Sean and his dance crew (known as The Mob) fight to win an internet competition, the pair join creative forces and quickly fall for each other. Along the way, their alliance will be tested by the property developments proposed by Emily’s rich father that will tear Sean’s working class community apart.

It’s not exactly revolutionary despite what the tag-line says. Nevertheless there are enough changes to the set-up to make things feel fresher. Crucially, the crew are not working towards a dance competition, instead they specialise in flashmobs to raise their online profile. This allows choreographer Chuck Maldonado room to employ more innovative settings and themes than we have seen thus far in the series - one sequence even plays out to a soundtrack of Radiohead. The cast meanwhile is full of likable, lithe young people who are tolerable actors and more importantly, fantastic dancers.

Miami Heat is a return to form for the series - a change of scenery has done this well worn format the world of good. This is big, dumb fun; tailor made for dance fans. If that doesn’t describe you, then best steer clear.

- Linda O’Brien