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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Step Up 4

Why yes, I am reviewing Step Up Revolution (or Step Up: Miami Heat, if you're from that part of the world)!

Much like pretty much every Jason Statham film ever released, I somehow find it impossible to truly take against a Step Up film, no matter how technically bad it may well be. And make no mistake, the latest in the series is very, very bad indeed. Bad script, wooden acting, unbelievably stupid story - check, check and check again. I don't even get the whole break-dance thing beyond a "gee how do they move their bodies like that?" level, so why oh why did I enjoy the blasted thing as much as I did?

I think what it comes down to is this: Step Up Revolution is a film that ends with a bunch of dancers fighting off the gentrification of their neighbourhood by doing what is effectively a really involved version of "the robot". Now, you'll either read that and think that that's the dumbest thing ever or you'll read it and think that is the dumbest thing ever - but it's so incredibly stupid that it's really kind of hilarious. If you fall in the former group (read: sane) then run as fast as possible away from the latest Step Up movie. If you're like me, however, and your sense of humour runs on the slightly demented side of things then you may well land up enjoying this unmistakable tripe in spite of yourself.

Since Step Up 4 is so very review-proof, I just have to mention what is absolutely, hands down my favourite part of this film. Now, you may well consider this to be a plot spoiler so you might want to look away, but honestly, if you're watching these films for their "plots", you and I will need to have a more serious discussion - the kind of discussion that involves a notepad, a leather couch and a not-modest amount of electro-shock therapy. Anyway, right at the end of the film, when the good guys stand victorious and the bad guys turn out to be not so bad and, most pertinently, the revolution against greedy consumerism has been fought and won, there comes a twist so jaw-droppingly ironic that it simply has to be intentional.

After spending the entire film fighting against the worship of money above all else, our limber heroes not only dance their way to melt the heart of the corporate beast (hello Peter Gallagher!) and save their homes from being demolished in the name of "progress", they get one final offer they can't refuse. Is to perhaps take their act on the road and spread their anti-capitalist message? Nope. Is it mayhaps a chance to help fix up their neighbourhood without destroying what's already there? Well, kind of, but not really.

No, forget all that, what these anti-corporate young men and women are offered is... wait for it... a chance to be the new mascots of Nike, Inc! Now clearly, what happens next HAS to be that they turn this offer down in pursuit of their art and their anti-sell-out revolution, right? RIGHT? Yeah, I'm afraid not. They instead jump all over this offer to be the spastic face of Nike, inCORPORATE, without so much as a second thought. So much for viva la revolution, huh? I mean really, not just any company but freakin' Nike? If you're not quite getting the head-slapping, hysterical madness of this particular twist in the tale just Google "Nike controversy" or, better yet, "Nike Sweatshops" and hold onto your seats as the waves of unbelievable hypocrisy threaten to end you.    

By all rights, I should be furious. I should be organising nation-wide, if not international, boycotts and protests. I should be contacting Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to write up a quick and dirty protest song about it. Instead I just giggle at the film's mad naivete and end up liking it even more. Go figure. But then that's the Step Up franchise for you.


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