Step Up and See The Four-Headed Cliché!


“Hi, I’m Cliché X…”
“And I’m Cliché Y! What are the chances…?”

An Active3D Review: Step Up 4: Revolution

Rating: * (out of 5)

I can’t remember when last I saw a saw a movie quite so crammed with bald, shameless cliché… I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers (yes, there are two!) tried to squeeze in even more hoary old plot-lines – but the script squeaked back that there was no more room at the inn…

Movie Cliché: Flash Mobs

Have you noticed how many modern mainstream American movies are starting to throw in flash mob sequences? This relatively newly-minted cliché seems to be the deal-clincher, of late. So, you’re sitting there, pitching your script, “It’s about these kids who like to dance, see…” and none of the execs are biting. Then inspiration strikes you: “You see, they run an underground flash mob organisation…” The suits light up. “And they ultimately use their flash mobs as a symbol of protest against wicked capitalist exploitation…” Bingo! Contracts are being hauled out faster than John Wayne could ever wield a six-shooter.    

Movie Cliché (x 2): “Dancing isn’t good enough for you. You need a proper career.”

1) Guy X wants to dance more than anything else. But his wise, concerned, married sister (who’s moved up into the comfortable middle classes) suggests that he pursue a proper career path… and she has a friend, of course, who can help him get a ‘real job’. He currently has a job as a waiter at a ritzy beachfront hotel.

2) Girl Y wants to dance more than anything else. But her father doesn’t approve. She should study at a respectable university and join the family business – i.e . get a ‘real job’.

Movie Cliché: A Class Warfare/Romeo-and-Juliet Setup

Barack Obama would like this storyline. Guy X (see above) is working class. He falls in love with Girl Y (see above), who returns his affection. The kicker, of course, is that her daddy is the owner of the hotel for which Guy X works… as a lowly waiter, remember? So, we have the noble, sturdily-built peasant getting fresh with the daughter of the Evil Lord of the Manor, so to speak. Bah humbug!

Movie Cliché: The Big, Bad Businessman

Yup; in the Land of The Average Hollywood Scriptwriter, Wealth equates with Evil. The successful businessmen are always villainous, and blessed – and truly wise – are the poor and skanky!The actor who assumes the role of the monied Big Bad Wolf is Peter Gallagher; a performer who’s done some fine work in his time, and who’s looking great for a guy nudging 60. He really doesn’t belong in this silly little affair, but needs to keep working, because – in the real world – bringing in the greenbacks is considered a virtue.

Movie Cliché: The Evil Property Developer is going to kick us out of our homes and shops!

Yes; the Good Guys live and work, largely, it seems, in a strip of dockland real estate that the Evil Developer (the businessman, above) wishes to appropriate, to turn into… (wait for it…) a prime retail and leisure zone. Oh no; that wouldn’t be one of those malls or skate parks that young folk of all classes love to hang out in, would it? How relentlessly cruel can one get? Conveniently, everyone in this low-rent area appears to be doing just that; renting – so they can’t even ask the baddie for a good sale price…

Is there an upside?

The 3-D’s quite slick, and the movie’s shot in Miami, so it serves as a flashy, stereoscopic mini-travelogue of that resort city, papered with bathing-costumed students. (It seems that all of Miami’s older folk – and there are many retirees in that sunny state – were shuffled off to Buffalo for the duration of the shoot.)

There are some bearable hip-hop dance set pieces, if you’re into that kind of thing, although there’s nothing here to set the dance world alight with its flair or originality. Of course the lighting, sets and costumes for theses sequences belie the kids’ scruffy budget – and how they manage to sneak all their paraphernalia into secure (for example, corporate) zones, is anyone’s guess. But it’s OK, because we suspend disbelief early in the movie, purely as a survival mechanism.


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