Neil Fox on film: Step Up 4, Offender

Step Up 4: Miami Heat 3D

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th August 2012, 6:00 am

If you can find anything redeemable, or original about this film, can you please tell me what that might be?

I have no words for this. It feels insulting and patronising, but people keep shelling out to see this dross, because they keep making them. They keep churning out these films, which are like the Resident Evil of teen dance flicks.

It’s the same story, with the same characters, every time. Only the faces and the locations change.

This time. A rich girl arrives in Miami and falls for a poor boy. They both dance.

Her father has development plans that threaten his neighbourhood. Cue the conflict.

Well, cue the potential conflict, except everyone forgot to bring the drama. As obvious as a Bradley Wiggins victory but nowhere near as satisfying.


The latest film from Fernando Meirelles seeks to be a socially and morally powerful global drama about the small connections we make.

Alas, it never really gets out of first gear and despite an all star cast including Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Anthony Hopkins the characters lack empathy and the events and drama seem forced.

There are some nice moments, including Ben Foster’s turn as a recently released prisoner and Jamel Debbouze as a conflicted French/Algerian Muslim, but sadly they are few and far between for a director who has created masterful works including City of God and The Constant Gardener.


Legendary British director Alan Clarke made searing drama about some of the nastiest sides of British life in the 1980s. He turned his hand to borstal, fascism and football hooliganism with some of the best dramas this country has ever produced cinematically.

While it’s admirable that filmmakers want to tell stories about these still, sadly culturally relevant things, they do so without any intelligence or general understanding of the world.

Our education system fails to engender adults with a grounding in the social, or the political, so we get films like this, which seeks to tell the story of life in a young offender’s institute for Tommy (Joe Cole, not the footballer) which covers all the bases and expectations you can imagine.

It comes across as crude and hollow because the characters don’t feel real and the action doesn’t feel like it has real consequences.

It’s all style over substance and will be soon forgotten – as opposed to the likes of Scum, Made in Britain and The Firm, which pack power, meaning and lessons still to be learned, 30 years on from their release.