San Francisco police officer Frank Connor's (Andy Garcia)
searches desperately for a compatible bone marrow donor for his
gravely ill son Matt (Joseph Cross), who is under the care of Dr
Samantha Hawkins (Marcia Gay Harden). He finally succeeds in
finding a match, but there's a catch – the potential donor
is convicted multiple murderer Peter McCabe (Michael Keaton), who
sees a trip to the hospital as the perfect opportunity to get
what he wants most - freedom. With McCabe's escape, the entire
hospital becomes a battleground and Connor pursues, but
ironically, has to protect the deadly fugitive, who is his son's
only hope for survival.
"Formulaic and contrived, Desperate Measures is a slick,
well made thriller which doesn’t quite cut the mustard.
Shame, because there are some really good elements. Top of the
list, is the engaging performance by a very fit Michael Keaton,
who jumps from the screen as a complex, evil maniac. Keaton makes
a great baddie with his expressive leering, face magnified in
extreme close-up. But the script is totally unbelievable, taking
the characters down a ludicrous road which is at times, farcial.
Andy Garcia, who delivers some good moments, is badly let down by
the script; what should be an exciting, tension packed film,
becomes rather mundane and sadly for the most part, uninvolving.
Marcia Gay Harden gives a sympathetic performance as the caring
doctor and Brian Cox is solid as the commanding officer. Trevor
Jones’ dark, turbulent score contributes to the mounting
tension, and I especially like the striking opening credits.
There’s plenty of top action and stunts - a thrilling car
chase, helicopter manoevres, big bangs and explosions galore.
Perhaps Desperate Measure is trying to be too many things all at
once - a profound family drama and at the same time a chase movie
spiked with action. There are too few moving moments, and
although Keaton is a treat to watch, Desperate Measures should
measure up considerably more."
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DESPERATE MEASURES (M) 15+
CAST: Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Brian Cox, Marcia Gay
Harden, Eric King, Efrain Figueroa, Joseph Cross, Janel Maloney,
DIRECTOR: Barbet Schroeder
PRODUCER: Barbet Schroeder, Susan Hoffman, Gary Foster, Lee
SCRIPT: David Klass
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Luciano Tavoli
EDITOR: Lee Percy
MUSIC: Trevor Jones
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Geoffrey Kirkland
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 21, 1998
VIDEO RELEASE: July 12, 1999
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment