Cancer as a plot device. Enough dramas that consist of it, but action movies? No they only use diseases as a threat like threatening to inject someone with a virus like HIV or some guy that has to keep his adrenaline level height because otherwise his heart will stop or something like that. But in Desperate Measures cancer is actually a plot device as some sick kid, whose father is a cop, needs a bone-marrow transplant quickly or else he will die. And it just so happens the only compatible donor is a sociopath killer locked up in solitary confinement who actually agrees with the operation. And of course this violent mad man escapes before he can go into surgery resulting in cat and mouse game in which the mouse mustn’t be killed by the cat or else the kitten will die too.
This movie kinda felt like a Die Hard clone with all the running through corridors, climbing through elevator shafts etc, but it uses too few Die Hard-rules to qualify as a rip-off/clone. What it also sadly misses is the quality of Die Hard which is simply put one of the best action movies ever made. But Desperate Measures is a simple action movie which has almost been forgotten by now, in fact I can’t remember ever seeing it lying on DVD here at the shops. It’s probably available, but I just can’t remember it.
The movie sets up the convict played by Michael Keaton up as a relentless killer, a Hannibal Lecter on steroids including an I.Q. of 150. This is necessary because his plan to escape prison doesn’t only need a really high pain-level but also a clever brain familiar with medicin, and engineering. This is probably one of the movies the writers of Prison Break watched before coming up with Michael Scofield’s character. The character is purely evil and other than some moments where he seems to be having some remorse is kind of one-dimensional.
The twist here is that with a guy like this on the run cops mostly shoot to kill, but by killing the donor the kid will die too. The father, whose already shown he’s willing to break some laws of himself to rescue is his son, stands between his trigger-happy colleagues and a trigger-happy murderer. Some guys just have all the bad luck.
it’s this twist that makes the movie interesting and gives it a level of excitement. For some extra tension the kid is also directly in danger as his health is steadily declining.
While not a disaster the movie is a standard mediocre action movie like they made in the 90’s. It never bores, but sadly it never really excites also. Other than a scene with a speeding truck and an exploding pathway the movie feels rather small as it basically is set either in the hospital or in prison. A movie released just after Bruckheimer started pumping out movies like The Rock and Con Air should have at least felt bigger.
It’s watchable, has good acting but you’ll probably have forgotten the movie before the end credits are done.