Those who haven't seen the previous installments of the "Step Up" franchise may have a hard time unearthing the latest message thrust upon audiences.
In summation, dance really, really hard and through it, you can change the world. As our leading lady declares, the public has tired of so-called "performance dance." It's time for "protest dance."
Emily (Kathryn McCormick) lands in South Beach with dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Her father (Peter Gallagher), a wealthy hotel magnate intent on developing a waterfront property in Miami, dismisses such thought as fantasy.
Turns out, the site for the businessman's latest venture just happens to be a historic neighborhood where Sean (Ryan Guzman), the leader of a dance crew called The Mob, resides.
Sean meets Emily and teaches her to find true joy in dance and purpose -- it's not just about uploading their performances to YouTube anymore; it's about saving a community.
In fairness, few are going to this movie with expectations of a nuanced character study. And the dancing through much of the film is ridiculously captivating.
There's a dance mob in an art museum where camouflaged characters jump out of paintings, a South Beach street sequence in which dancers leap from car to car and an indisputably impressive finale in a vast industrial park with many wow-inducing moments.
The only problem? The characters can't dance the whole movie. That pesky storytelling part gets in the way.
Some may accuse director Scott Speer of intentionally botching the story as a way to heighten anticipation for the dancing. Without a fast-forward button, though, we're forced to endure the most wooden performances in a series lined with monotone wonders.
Such shortcomings will hardly deter the target audience for a film franchise that has performed surprisingly well at the box office. And there have been far inferior uses of 3-D than "Revolution."
But had the creators put a sliver of the energy into story development that they devoted to choreography, they could have produced a solid escapist film.
Instead, we're left to lament yet another example of Hollywood's utter lack of originality -- while our tormenters laugh their way to the bank.
"Step Up Revolution"
1 out of 4 stars
Stars: Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Peter Gallagher and Misha Gabriel
Director: Scott Speer
Rated: PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language
Running Time: 99 minutes