Movie Magazine International

Desperate Measures

USA - 1998

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

Michael Keaton notoriously freaks out audiences with his eerie twitchy portrayals of manipulative psychopaths. Whipping around foppishly like an imp, he handily takes on jester roles with equal success. Yet in his latest role as a brilliant murderer in "Desperate Measures," Keaton is trapped in such a phony part that it trashes his talents. Andy Garcia who is also well cast for his role can only factionally shine for the same reason. David Klaas's thoughtless script creates such flat characters that only a deluge of pyrotechnic fanfare barely makes director Barbet Schroder's "Desperate Measures" worth sitting through.

Andy Garcia portrays Frank Conner, a San Francisco policeman who breaks law after law to find a bone marrow donor for his young cancer ridden son. As Hollywood would have it, the only eligible donor is a sociopathic murderer in jail named Pete McBride. Mcbride played by Keaton has an IQ of a genius and upon being asked to be the dying boy's donor, he agrees so that he can fanagle his way to turn his benevolence into an escape opportunity.

Once Conner's son and Mcbride are set for the marrow transfusion in the hospital, Mcbride escapes, leaving Conner's son on the brink of death. The police set out to capture Mcbride in the hospital maze and Conner is ordered to stay out. Evading authorities, Conner independently embarks on his own manhunt for McBride. The irony is that Conner must keep Mcbride alive by thwarting the police's capture efforts.

The most engaging reason to see "Desperate Measures" is its creative and generous use of artillery and hospital handy weaponry. Hypodermic needles and exploding tanks of butane help fill the pockets of boredom carved by the dragging script. French director Barbet Schroder admitted that because "Desperate Measures" was his first adventure disaster film, he stressed out about getting the logistics of each scene correct. It's a blundering oversight that he didn't equally scrutinize David Klaas's script. Keaton's McBride is neither threatening nor marginally funny and Garcia's Officer Conner didn't have the right dialogue to richen his pressurized situation. Yet "Desperate Measures" is a passable time-filler for pyromaniacs who couldn't care less about drivel between frenetic explosions and gunfire spray.

© 1998 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 02/04/98

"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index

"Movie Magazine International" Home Page