Step Up 4: Miami Heat Review

Film Still
  • Step Up 4: Miami Heat film still


This glossy, inoffensive dance sequel brandishes some laughably shallow leftist credentials.

In America, the subtitle to this third sequel of the bizarrely popular street dance franchise was 'Revolution'. Over here it's 'Miami Heat', but it really should've been 'Mob Rule'. It sees a cadre of ab-happy dancers take it upon themselves to stage a series of elaborate flash mobs (which are more like gaudy Lloyd-Webber endorsed spectacles) in and around the Miami seafront area.

The reasons for this, initially, are not for any political gain or to fashion a meaningful social statement. No, it's so they can post their efforts on to YouTube in the hope they'll reach a coveted 10 million hits. Then, the kind folks over at Worldcorp (or whoever it is that runs YouTube) will shower them with folding money for their informal corporate partnership.

Not that they appear to need any. Although punching the clock for their way-whack dayjobs as porters in a deluxe hotel and spending their evenings bogling in a salty dive bar, theirs is what we might call 'plastic poverty', where their musty underground dance lair is actually a souped-up, Ikea-sponsored Batcave of bulky sound systems, chill zones and banks of computers where their flash mobs can be choreographed down to the tiniest pixel.

It turns out the the owner of the hotel has plans to bulldoze the dancers' beloved local community, so they must, quite literally, 'step up', and foil the plans of this capitalist Beelzebub. And they do this via the only medium they know: dance.

They toss a terpsichorean spanner in the works at a stuffed-shirt gallery opening, sock it to The Man in the glass-and-steel lobby of a local government building, and just do their very best (via elaborate, dance-based multimedia truth bombs) to preserve the soul of their town.

And while The Suits, with their seal-skin Filofaxs and violent contempt for The Poor, may not be listening, the boys down at YouTube certainly are, catapulting The Mob (as they are monikered) into the very core of the American consciousness. Well, at the very least into the minds of those who spend their time getting excited about viral videos.

Step Up 4: Miami Heat presents a form of working class civil unrest that would've had Lenin face-palming himself into a red frenzy. Its leftist credentials are limp at best, with director Scott Speer (no relation) seldom opting to film any of the flash mobs in the democratised medium with which they were intended to be seen, eg camera phones, security footage, etc. Indeed, the editing is so choppy and frenetic, you barely get a chance to sample the physical skills being showcased.

Though inoffensively bland for the most part and containing a love subplot filched straight out of Dirty Dancing, the film ends with an explosion of dance energy.

Yet, it doesn't take long for these whippersnappers to relinquish their new-found political idealism, for they are a fickle dancing donkey, unable to resist the rotton carrot of corporate sponsorship being dangled in front of them during the sickening final frames. More than ever, Nanni Moretti really needs to make that musical about a Trotskyite pastry chef...

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