Step Up 4: Miami Heat (PG) 3 Stars
Ryan Guzman, Misha Gabriel, Kathryn McCormick, Peter Gallagher
Director Scott Speer
You'll like this if you liked: the other Step Up films, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance
Ever since Patrick Swayze uttered those immortal words "Nobody puts Baby in a corner", females across the world have been waiting for another moment to eclipse the closing scene of Dirty Dancing.
It's probably going a bit too far to say the climax of the latest film in the Step Up franchise lives up to what could be classed as the ultimate chick-flick moment but it's hard not to draw comparisons between Scott Speer's first foray into feature films and Dirty Dancing - and indeed that other 80s girls' night staple Flashdance.
Certainly there are shades of Jennifer Grey in Kathryn McCormick's Emily, a daddy's girl who dreams of being a dancer but whose father "Mr Anderson" (Peter Gallagher), a wealthy property developer, is non-approving.
So too Emily's love interest Sean (Ryan Guzman) is almost a mirror image of Swayze's Johnny. He's a waiter at Mr Anderson's hotel but in his spare time is part of a group of local dancers, led by his mate Eddy (Misha Gabriel), who stage elaborate flash mobs in an effort to get enough hits on YouTube to win $100,000.
Emily and Sean's worlds collide at the beachside bar of her father's hotel one afternoon where sparks fly and the pair engage in a heated dance-off on the sand.
Worried she's been spotted fraternising with one of the staff by her father's next-in-charge, Emily scarpers quicker than you can say "I carried a watermelon".
Sean soon learns his mystery women's identity when he turns up to wait on her table while she is having dinner with her father. Keen to impress the woman who has stolen his heart, Sean invites Emily on a date to an art gallery, where his team of dancers have orchestrated another flash mob.
It's here - like with the opening scene in Step Up 4 - Speer's experience in making music videos comes to the fore and the audience, like Emily, are blown away by a radical performance featuring dancers disguised as artworks and ballerinas in glowing tutus.
Keen to learn some new moves in order to get accepted into a prestigious dance academy, Emily wants in on the action and manages to convince Sean to let her join The Mob.
Of course, every film needs a bad fella and Step Up 4's comes in the form of Emily's dad, who just happens to be the man behind plans to demolish the ethnic area of Miami where most of The Mob live and replace it with a luxury living and shopping complex.
Needless to say, Sean keeps Emily's identity a secret from The Mob but she becomes a valuable member of the team when, disillusioned by her father, she encourages her friends to turn their performance art into protest art.
It's here the dance sequences become much more interesting as The Mob use their skills to fight for something they believe in.
We see them in business suits and then army overalls and gasmasks perform synchronised displays of people power which, as well as being stylistically impressive, are in fact quite moving to watch.
In fact, such is the intensity of the routines - helped, of course, by the 3-D effects - by the time The Mob come together for their final rallying routine (they bounce off trampolines and run up the side of shipping containers), we can't help but feel part of their cause.
Speer took a massive artistic leap in switching from music videos to feature films but he's made an impressive landing here, giving us a film that delivers where it matters most - in the dancing.
Sure, the dialogue is weak and the plot somewhat implausible but the Step Up movies have only ever really been dance flicks and should be enjoyed purely as such.
Indeed, it was almost as much fun watching the eight-year-old boy on the row behind me wriggle with excitement as it was Guzman and the gang bust a move on the big screen.Whether Step Up 4's leading man can go on to be as successful as the late Swayze remains to be seen. But one thing's for sure, that little chap was having the time of his life.