It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Name this plot: The gang hangs out near the beach and has a way of spontaneously breaking out into dance. A pretty girl is new in town. She's an outsider, until the leader of the beach crowd befriends her. Life's a holiday until an evil real-estate developer comes along and wants to destroy the Eden on the beach by erecting a huge development. The kids decide to protest in order to preserve their beloved turf. And the snaky developer turns out, inevitably, to be the new girl's daddy.
I'm pushing the buzzer and shouting "Beach Party"! "Frankie and Annette!" But I'm dating myself. "Step Up: Revolution" is the fourth of the "Step Up" movies, a series of unconnected stories that serve as showcases for the kinds of young stars who sincerely hope they'll soon be in better movies. The first one, in 2006, starred Channing Tatum. This fourth one stars Kathryn McCormick, from "So You Think You Can Dance." You get the idea.
McCormick is Emily, who we meet soon after she turns up in Miami Beach. She dreams of being a dancer and soon falls into the orbit of the Mob. No, not that one. This one is an awesomely well-organized, rehearsed, choreographed and disciplined flash mob that materializes around town and constantly mystifies TV news anchors, who report on its manifestations as if every appearance is a complete surprise. The mob's leader, Sean, is played by first-time actor Ryan Guzman. Like everyone else in "Step Up: Revolution," Sean is good-looking, gifted and apparently self-supporting, since he's available 24/7 to turn up anywhere and dance.
The Mob oversteps the boundaries of your average flash mob, to be sure; they even do a choreographed routine while dancing on the hoods and roofs of cars that are (luckily) stopped in traffic. They have an uncanny way of materializing at public events involving the mayor and the evil real-estate developer (Peter Gallagher) and interrupting their speeches with high-octane production numbers. Even though the group's M.O. is well-established, the Miami Beach police seem singularly clueless. Ask yourself this question: What does the typical audience look like at a public speech by a real estate developer? As you fix that image in your mind, ask yourself if the cops would notice a large number of "So You Think You Can Dance" types, casually skulking about and acting as if they're not about to burst into dance.