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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Step Up Revolution

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Ryan Guzman and Kathryn McCormick star in "Step Up Revolution."
One adage holds that it's best to stick to what you're good at. It's too bad screenwriter Amanda Brody didn't take that advice on board when writing "Step Up Revolution" (Summit).

This fourth installment of the steamy dance and romance franchise continues to showcase the kind of top-notch choreography to which fans who dig fine shindigging have become accustomed.

Instead of providing a light plot to match the lively steps of the dance numbers, though, "Revolution" wanders off into risible pretentiousness. Stony-faced exchanges about protesting this and that and "breaking the rules" are more likely to make audiences cringe than reflect.

Throw in some risque routines—as well as a few turns of phrase too salty for the youngsters who would otherwise probably enjoy this outing the most—and the fun is dampened still further.

The hackneyed plot focuses on Miami urbanite Sean (Ryan Guzman). Along with his best friend since childhood, Eddy (Misha Gabriel), Sean runs a flash-mob group known as "The Mob."

Their version of the fad sees this ensemble of highly skilled dancers, musicians and artists suddenly appearing out of nowhere, providing their chosen audience with a jaw-dropping performance to be recorded on cell phones and immortalized on YouTube, and then vanishing.

With fame and possible fortune looming, Sean encounters the equally fleet of foot Emily (Kathryn McCormick), who's out to audition her way into the prestigious Wynwood Dance Company. Needless to say, when hoofer meets hoofer, it's kismet.

Pouty Em is busy rebelling against her millionaire father, Bill (Peter Gallagher), who, sensibly enough, wants her to abandon her long-shot dreams of becoming a professional dancer and go back to college.

Geez, Dad, what are you thinking?

When they discover that Bill—heartless capitalist that he is—plans to redevelop local land and raze their downscale neighborhood in the process, the truculent troupe, Emily included, go into Occupy mode. They plan a campaign of "protest art" to fight against the forces of conformity. Ostensibly of-the-moment references to social media and online hits, alas, fail to make this story any less stale than it sounds.

So in lieu of a fun-filled whirl across the dance floor, Brody and first-time director Scott Speer give us a surfeit of half-baked political posturing and self-indulgent sentimentality.

While the relationship between the two leads remains wholesome, that's not an adjective that could be used to describe the pseudo-sexual style of public grinding they favor. They leave no room for daylight, much less the Holy Spirit.

The film contains much highly suggestive dancing, a single censored rough term and occasional crude and crass utterances. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Conversion of St. Paul: Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior. 
<p>One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing. </p><p>From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a). </p><p>Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new. </p><p>So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.</p> American Catholic Blog If you’re confused as to why God would die for you, you either need to rethink your vision of His mercy or of your own worth.

 
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