Australian Council on Children and the Media

Step Up: Miami Heat

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Not recommended under 10, PG to 13 (Disturbing scenes and themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Step Up: Miami Heat
  • a review of Step Up: Miami Heat completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 September 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to disturbing scenes and themes
Children aged 10-13 Parental guidance recommended due to disturbing scenes and themes
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Step Up: Miami Heat
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language and violence
Length 99 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Step Up: Miami Heat is the fourth movie in the successful Step Up franchise. Miami Heat tells the story of Emily (Kathryn McCormick) the daughter of a wealthy developer, who is trying to make it as a professional dancer.  Mr Anderson, Emily's father (Peter Gallagher) is unsupportive of her dream and wants her to give up dancing to be a part of his growing company.  Emily's determination to dance puts her at odds with her father and family tensions rise. 

When Emily becomes involved with Sean (Ryan Guzman) the leader of a dance crew called 'The Mob' she becomes inspired to use her dance in a more meaningful way - to give a voice to those who don't have one.  However, when Sean and Emily's latest venture directly threatens Emily's father and his current development, things come to a head.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family conflict; social and political protest

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Sean punches his best friend when he talks about Emily in a derogatory manner
  • There are many scenes where dancers act out shooting guns, including pistols and machine guns.  There are usually not directed at people but to make a political statement.
  • During one protest the dancers are disguised in protective suits and have fake guns.  The scene is dark and there is a lot of smoke. They dance with aggression and threat (stomping, in lines, coming towards people, threatening gestures).  People are seen running and upset.  One man is punched throughout the scene.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

The flash mobs by nature involve an element of surprise and the unexpected which could frighten some children.  In some cases the dancers are also breaking the law. Children may be confused about what is real and what is performance.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

  • Marriott
  • Panasonic
  • Apple
  • Ellen
  • YouTube
  • Nike
  • Dell
  • Nokia

Sexual references

  • women straddling men in a provocative manner
  • seductive dance with men touching women's bodies
  • gyrating and hip thrusting

Nudity and sexual activity

  • women wearing tight and revealing clothing
  • Emily and Sean kiss passionately

Use of substances

  • social drinking by adults

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • bullshit
  • screw them
  • bitch
  • sucks
  • butt
  • crap
  • fricken’
  • “banging” Emily

In a nutshell

Step Up: Miami Heat is the fourth dance movie in the Step Up series. It deals with a dance flash mob that uses protest dance to give a voice to those who don't have one. It is likely to appeal to teens, particularly those who are dance fans, but may be disturbing for younger children who do not understand that the protests are really performances and who are likely to be confused about the motivation of the dancers. Parents may also be concerned about younger children imitating sexualised dance moves.

The main messages from this movie are to:

  • follow your dreams
  • stand up for what you believe in

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the use of dance and other performance in social and political protests and flash mobs:

  • What was the difference between the more positive dance protests and the more threatening protest that resulted in people being arrested?
  • Why was the more positive protest more effective?
  • How can you express strong opinions in a way that doesn't hurt others?

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