18 user 4 critic

Dead Heat (2002)

A heart problem forces the cop Pally to retire, and his wife Charlotte is separating him. Charlotte makes Pally's half-brother Ray visit, and he suggest buying a race horse will cheer him up. He does, but then a mob boss steals the horse.


Mark Malone


Mark Malone

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Kiefer Sutherland ... Pally
Anthony LaPaglia ... Ray (as Anthony Lapaglia)
Radha Mitchell ... Charlotte
Lothaire Bluteau ... Tony
Daniel Benzali ... Frank Finnegan
Kay Panabaker ... Sam
Denis Arndt ... Dr. Ivan Barnes
Charles Martin Smith ... Morty
Michael Benyaer ... First Man - Warehouse
Craig Veroni ... Second Man - Warehouse
Gerald Paetz ... Cadillac Man / Finnegan Thug # 1
Marco Roy Marco Roy ... Second Cop
Gary Hetherington ... Captain
Bill Whiting Bill Whiting ... Bartender
Frank Cassini ... Manny


Heart problems force Boston cop Pally LaMarr to retire; he's in a funk and his wife Charlotte sends him packing. At Charlotte's insistence, Pally's half-brother Ray pays Pally a visit and suggests he buy a race horse to cheer up. Ray's always playing the angles, and he's got his eye on a horse that's cheap because it's been misdiagnosed. Ray knows the horse is a champion. Before they can win some money, a local mob boss, Frank Finnigan, sees the horse and steals it as payment for the gambling debt of Tony, a local jockey and single parent. Can Pally and Ray get the horse back, get Tony out of hock, and win some moola? What about Charlotte: can Pally let his heart take the lead? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All Bets Are Off.


Action | Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, brief sexuality and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Germany | Canada



Release Date:

23 July 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Fought the Law See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Both Daniel Benzali and Anthony LaPaglia starred in the series "Murder One" in 1995. See more »


Ray: Do you think you're gonna die?
Pally LaMarr: How the hell would I know?
Ray: [chuckles] Yeah, that's a good point.
See more »


Donna Lee
Written by Lisa Marr, Mike Flanagan, Dave Philips, Sherri Solinger
Performed by The Lisa Marr Experiment
Silent Movies for the Blind Publishing
Courtesy of Sympathy for the Record Industry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Very nearly a non-film save some good chemistry between Sutherland and LaPaglia
29 June 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When he suffers heart attack on the job, resulting in a criminal escaping, Pally LaMarr retires from the police force. Turning to drink and contemplating suicide he is offered distraction by his step brother Ray LaMarr who tries to bring him in on a deal to buy a race horse. The horse is slow but Ray realises that minor surgery will free him up. They go through with the deal and bring Tony LaRoche on board as the jockey. However LaRoche owes money to the mob, so the mob take the horse. Stealing the horse back, Ray makes a deal to pay off the debt within a month or to give up the horse.

I watched this film because I do like Kiefer Sutherland and have grown keener on him now that I am watching him weekly on 24. I had reasonable hopes for this because it did start quite well and was quite stylish in the opening 10 minutes. However after this point the darkness opens up and it appears to be an uneasy mix of comedy and drama, neither of which really work. The plot is very plodding and very little actually happens in the film – certainly there is no real tension for the most part.

Events happen which are almost without consequence (for example one of the mob goes missing but nothing is really mentioned of it again in the film) and things just seem to meander until an ending that is far too neat for it's own good. In fact the final scene of the film is silly and abrupt – like the film didn't so much end as, well, stop. It is mildly interesting but this has nothing to do with the plot.

What made it watchable was the chemistry between Sutherland and LaPaglia, although neither gave a particularly good performance. They came across well together and made for an pairing that I'd like to see again in a much better film. Sutherland is a little hampered as he doesn't know how to play his character – at times he is comic, others he is dark, others he is free and light. There is no consistence and it seems to be whatever the tone of the scene requires – certainly his stress in one scene quickly vanishes for a more comic scene following. LaPaglia is a poor character here, his `furgett-abot it' acting is clichéd and tired and wastes his talents. Bluteau is really, really poor – his accent is way off somewhere and his character is as thin as paper. The support cast are OK but have little to do – but even with a dream support cast I doubt this film could have been lifted above the material.

The direction etc is pretty standard. After some style early on the film falls away and uses too much rock music etc and lots of `clever' shots that are just pointless – more time should have been spend on the story and delivering characters and drama. Overall I had reasonable hopes but these were dashed early on. It delivers so very little that it is almost a non-film. Ask me about it in and year and I'm sure I'll have no memory of it.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed