Step Up 4: Revolution 3D – Blu-ray
Release Date: Nov 27, 2012
Reviewed by Mark Smith
Review Score: 4 of 5
I’m a bit late to the “Step Up Party”. I think I may have seen bits and pieces of the first movie; the second movie went to another editor for review, we never got a review copy of the third film, and here we are with Step Up 4: Revolution 3D, a movie so visually compelling, both in amazing choreography, stunning locations, and its attractive cast, not to mention a sub-thumping soundtrack that had me researching Neo: X sound systems on my iPad before the end credits started to roll.
Revolution is an experience more than a movie, extremely light when it comes to a serviceable story. The script we do get is merely a thinly woven narrative to get us from one dance number to the next, and they even offer a menu option to take you straight to those if you wish to skip the embarrassing moments of professional dancers and models trying to emote their lines. We have a group of underground dancers who call themselves The Mob, which consists of a mobile DJ, an urban street artist, and gonzo videographer, and a group of dancers way too good to be dancing in the streets. The Mob is led by Sean (Ryan Guzman) whose only aspiration is to get their Flash Mob videos seen by enough online viewers to win a huge cash prize. But things change when he meets Emily (Kathryn McCormick) at the hotel beach bar one day.
Emily is an aspiring dancer trying to secure a position with an elite dance troupe by the end of the summer otherwise her father (Peter Gallagher) will make her return to Cleveland and work in his real estate empire, an empire that is about to tear down a section of the Miami waterfront where Sean and his friends hang out. So while Sean is teaching Emily to “loose up” Emily teaches Sean and the Mob that it is better to fight for a “cause” than for hits on YouTube. Can the power of dubstep and choreographed dance numbers stop a multi-million dollar real estate deal and save a community? Of course it can.
But let’s face it – you aren’t watching this for the story or the b-grade acting. Step Up 4 is all about the amazing dance numbers set in unique locations with surprising “flash mob style” accuracy, and in that area Revolution excels. The film starts strong with a takeover of Ocean Blvd, and then goes into more intimate locations like a fancy restaurant or my favorite, a swanky art gallery where the Mob brings art to life. The numbers get larger, the music gets louder, and the street art gets more impressive as we make our way to the dance climax set at the waterfront amongst massive shipping containers. You might doze off between the numbers but once the music starts you will be glued to the screen.
The 1080p transfer looks incredible in both the MVC (3D) and AVC (2D) 2.40:1 widescreen presentation. The colors are vibrant and the aerial shots of Miami are as mesmerizing as the dance numbers. The 3D effects are subtle yet effective and most noticeable in the dance numbers with various special effects and such. There are only a few moments of in-your-face 3D that come off as laughably intentional. My favorite 3D moment was the office lobby flash mob with thousands of dollar bills floating off the screen and into my living room.
The shining element of Step Up 4 has got to be the sound mix. In the 10 years I’ve owned my subwoofer and out of over 1,100 Blu-ray discs nothing has sounded this amazing when it comes to a musical soundtrack. The only thing that comes close is my collection of DTS audio CD’s and even those can top the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix. If you don’t own a good subwoofer then it’s time to go shopping and if you don’t own a Neo X amp…well…I’m still waiting for more movies to support that format before I plunk down $1500+ for a new AVR. Outside the expertly mixed flash mob scenes you have an evenly balanced mix of score, environment and dialogue that makes great use of all the channels.
Revolution is a bit light on the extras although I do commend the studio for releasing the 2D and 3D on a single sku. Thank you for an actual iTunes digital copy as well and not just that Ultraviolet crap (even though it’s a dual-purpose code). I don’t keep a lot of music on my iPhone and no movies, but Step Up 4: Revolution has found a permanent home on my iPhone just so I can listen to the music and occasionally view my favorite flash mob. Scott Speer, Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman team up for a fun and informative commentary. I couldn’t help but laugh as Kathryn kept updating her “favorite moment” of the film.
Other HD bonus features include Becoming a Star, Choreography, Dancing on Their Own, and Making the Mob, all covering various aspects of making the movie and behind the scenes antics, and all totaling about 30 minutes. If you want to turn the 99-minute movie into a 25-minute dance marathon then use the Flash Mob Index to pick and choose or watch all of the Flash Mob sequences sans story. And finally, there are two music videos, “Goin’ In” with Jennifer Lopez and FloRider, and “hands in the Air” with Timbaland and Ne-Yo.
Step Up 4: Revolution isn’t much of a movie when it comes to acting and storytelling, but in a movie like this it’s easier to teach a dancer to act than an actor to dance, and while the acting is shallow at best, the dancing is spot on with an energy and excitement that is undeniable. The whole flash mob theme is quite timely with our cultural obsession of YouTube and viral videos, many of which are flash mob related. The soundtrack alone is worth the cost of admission, but the amazing choreography and stunning visuals totally seal the deal. Revolution is a revolutionary Blu-ray and not to be missed.