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By Joshua Grover-David Patterson | September 16, 2004

Tap Heat is made up entirely of the type of pure, exuberant fun at which you can’t help smiling.

The film starts off showing a few kids engaged in what appear to be a game of basketball on an urban court. About ten seconds later, it’s revealed that what we’re really watching is a bunch of young adults engaged in a tap routine that occasionally gets a basketball involved.

A young man with something of an attitude shows up, and tries to join in. The problem is, his wild dance moves don’t really mesh with the dance moves of the rest of the group, and he takes off.

One of the kids pulls out a cell phone.

On the other end of the line are the Dance Police, where on the wall we can plainly see our hero on a poster reading – Wanted: Illegal Tap Dancing.

So, a member of the Tap Squad (so says his badge) heads off to find the young hooligan, and they engage in a – dance-off? Sort of.

Old cop demonstrates his stately moves, while young guy does some of his wild, high-speed tapping.

And then it all kind of falls apart.

The story vanishes, and both old and young gather together on a Broadway-looking stage to dance to Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm.”

I say it falls apart not because I didn’t like the ending, but because I was, at that point, very much into the story, and it opted to dissolve instead of resolve.

The film contains no dialogue, so everything is inferred through motion and emotion. It’s a universe where dance is the only language, and I would have loved to see it come to a real conclusion rather than offering me a five-minute dance recital.

But whatever. I said this film was fun, and it is. The wordless performances are funny, whiplash-fast, and crystal-clear even without dialogue. The dancing is entertaining, and everyone, from the leads on down, does an excellent job, to this dance-untrained eye.

The film looks great, and the sound mix is excellent, letting the taps and music work together instead of one overpowering the other.

From minute one through fourteen, this is a film every kid and adult who ever had to don a dance shoe for a recital will get a kick out of.

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