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Step Up 4: Miami Heat – Review

Step Up 4: Miami Heat

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE fourth film in the seemingly interminable Step Up franchise offers pretty much more of the same – fun dance sequences but lame plotting and poor characters.

Set in Miami, the story this time sees a boy from the wrong side of the tracks (Ryan Guzman’s Sean) hook up with a frustrated rich girl (Kathryn McCormick’s Emily) to potentially life-changing effect.

Sean is from an underground dance crew who are striving to win a YouTube competition that will help to fund future success by staging surprise events in unlikely places (such as art museums or in the middle of one of Miami’s busiest streets).

Emily, meanwhile, just wants to dance but finds her ambition unsupported by her successful dad (Peter Gallagher), a property developer whose latest scheme could render Sean and his crew homeless.

Step Up 4 does at least differ from previous films in the series by having big business emerge as the main enemy rather than a rival dance crew but it still feels lazy and contrived in a number of other ways.

The characters, especially, are riddled with cliches, while neither Guzman nor former So You Think You Can Dance finalist McCormick can invest them with enough charisma or nuance to make them interesting.

Their central relationship, meanwhile, plays out in a painfully predictable way, much like the rest of the plot which also requires viewers to make one too many leaps of faith.

How, for example, can a supposedly hard up crew pull off so many elaborate dance protests? And who finances the cutting edge technology they use?

Poor, too, is the last act product placement plug that rather flies in the face of the film’s own central message.

If you can put all this aside, there are some suitably imaginative dance sequences to enjoy. But even then (and in spite of some poor editing) you can’t help but feel that if even half as much energy had been put into the areas where the film fails, the whole package would feel more worthwhile and satisfying.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 97mins
UK Release Date: August 10, 2012