Film review: STEP UP 4: MIAMI HEAT, from Built For Speed

With its clunky dialogue and outrageously implausible story, Step Up 4 (yes 4) Miami Heat is every bit as ridiculous as a cynical ageing film reviewer might hope.

Despite touting itself as up to the minute high energy teen entertainment, it’s basically a Pat boon or Elvis movie about kids puttin’ on a show but tricked up with techno, hip hop and crumping.

In 4, Ryan Guzman stars as the bare-chested, peck-flexing leader of a Miami flash mob dance crew inventively titled The Mob. They stage impromptu dance spectaculars in public places which they film and upload to YouTube hoping to score the most hits and win a lucrative competition. When the inevitable corporate meanie (Peter Gallagher) tries to turn their tastefully grungy neighbourhood into a shiny shopping mall, the mob goes all activist.

This comical attempt at capturing contemporary social unrest is really just the backdrop for a romance between Guzman and you guessed it the corporate meanie’s daughter (Kathryn McCormick) as well as a succession of elaborate dance routines.

The flash mob dancing features some astonishing acrobatics and body contortions all captured with dynamic cinematography. There’s also some remarkably inventive sequences such as when the mob infiltrate a gallery and become moving exhibits. It’s not exactly the old Fred and Ginger style ball room waltz.

While the dancing is impressive, it involves too much aggro posturing, gesticulating and angry face pulling and I’m still not sold on crumping, to me it looks like stripper dancing on crack.

If you don’t care for the dancing, the film is at least funny in all the wrong places and includes the most hilarious corporate sell out in movie history.

As much as a middle aged critic might poke holes in a film like this, its mix of energetic dancing and impossibly good looking cast members will ensure its popularity with the intended teen audience.

Nick’s rating: 2 ½ stars.

Classification: PG

Director(s): Scott Speer

Release date: 2nd Aug 2012


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