Desperate Measures (1998)

reviewed by
Berge Garabedian


DESPERATE MEASURES
RATING:  6.5 / 10 --> So-so 

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Director Barbet Schroeder takes a wide-turn at the genre section of movie-making, and trades in his permanent place-card from the human drama division, and punches up a DIE HARD (8/10)-type thriller for the intellectually-challenged.

PLOT: A feisty police officer's nine-year old son has fallen gravely ill and needs a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. The only donor compatible to the child is Peter McCabe (Keaton), multiple murderer locked up in jail. Agent Conner (Garcia) convinces Peter to redeem himself by helping his son live longer. McCabe agrees. Once in the hospital, McCabe escapes, and mayhem ensues. Ironically, detective Conner must catch the fugitive, but not kill him, for his son's life hangs in the balance.

CRITIQUE: Rudimentary thriller containing some suspenseful moments, many implausibilities, a standard car chase, a solid performance by Keaton as the highly enlightened killer, and a cool final scene. This movie is not extremely original in any way, shape or form, but it does offer an interesting launch premise, a relatively short run-time, and an even pace of suspense and interest throughout. Michael Keaton's performance is also very over-the-top and fun to watch, and of course, the proverbial Andy Garcia playing "the suit" (I may be mistaken, but I think Andy's last seven films have him garbed in a suit. Perhaps even the same suit! Stretch your acting muscles, Andy! Loosen the tie, dude!!).

Schroeder does not bring anything overtly stylish to the film, but does maintain a non-stop pace of twists, turns and action scenes. The film could've used a stronger "reality check" (Garcia asks other police officers not to shoot Keaton's character in order to maintain his son's chances of living, while sacrificing the lives of other officers in the process.), as Garcia's character seems to break every law in the book by the end of the film (Why couldn't you just shoot the guy in the legs to slow him down? Just a thought.)

Overall, this film would not be a highly recommendable one by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess it was some fun for what it was, and it sure wouldn't hurt if you crashed out after a long day's work, and needed something to join your brain in shut-down mode for an hour or so. Keaton's performance is also enjoyable to watch, as is the "suit's". Also, the final scene of this movie is one of the coolest that I've seen in a while, so I guess you could always look forward to that little tidbit of hipness. Otherwise, this film is like a wet fart on a hot day. Satisfying as it goes along, but ultimately empty and forgettable when it's over.

Little Known Facts about the film and its stars: The article "Inside the Mind of a Sociopath" that the Captain is reading during the trip to the prison is written "by Michael Keaton". Andy Garcia was born in Havana, Cuba, under his full name of Andres Arturo Garcia-Menendez. Upon his birth, Andy apparently had an unusual growth on his shoulder. It turned out to be a twin that hadn't fully developed. "They just snipped it off, apparently," says Garcia. He's been married to Maria Victoria (whom everyone calls Marivi), a fellow Cuban émigré, since 1982, and vigorously guards her privacy and that of their three daughters, Dominik, Daniella, and Alessandra. Director Barbet Schroeder is a man. He was nominated as Best Director at the 1991 Academy Awards for THE REVERSAL OF FORTUNE (7/10), and played the French President in the Tim Burton movie MARS ATTACKS! (6.5/10). Writer David Klass' first produced screenplay was KISS THE GIRLS (7/10).

Review Date:         August 24, 1998
Director:                Barbet Schroeder
Writer:                 David Klass
Producers:         Barbet Schroeder, Lee Rich, Susan Hoffman and Gary Foster
Actors:                 Michael Keaton as Peter McCabe                
                Andy Garcia as Frank Conner
Genre:                 Thriller
Year of Release:         1998
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(c) 1998 Berge Garabedian

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