Tag Archives: desperate measures

BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Desperate Measures (1997)

A sick kid!  A scary killer!  A daring escape attempt!

BQB here with a review of “Desperate Measures.”


I always thought this film got short changed and deserved more play.  Personally, I think it’s one of the best roles Michael Keaton has ever had and as far as I know, it’s barely recognized.

Andy Garcia plays a cop whose son, Matt, requires a life-saving bone marrow transplant.  That’s right.  The kid will croak if he doesn’t get it.

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  The only person who is a match is none other than Peter McCabe (Michael Keaton) a psycho killer permanently locked up in solitary confinement because he’s proven to be ultra violent and essentially a Hannibal Lector type who can kill a man with his pinky finger unless he’s restrained at all times.

Garcia brokers a deal, getting McCabe to agree to donate his bone marrow in exchange for more prison benefits.  However, McCabe has other ideas.  The viewer watches as McCabe takes a number of mysterious steps and, as we quickly learn, he’s plotted a masterful escape.

From there, the action is intense as McCabe fights his way out of his hospital and later to a car chase.  All the while, Garcia’s goal is to capture McCabe alive, seeing as how his marrow will be no good to his son if he is dead.

Thus, Garcia must get between McCabe and Cassidy (Brian Cox) the cop charged with hunting McCabe down.  Cassidy and other police don’t really give a crap if McCabe lives or dies, they just want him stopped and thus Garcia must play both sides in order to get that marrow to his son.

Keaton is scary in this role.  Yet, there are occasional glimpses of humanity.  Briefly, he takes young Matt hostage and tells him, “I’d of done that for you if I could have, kid” and it’s somewhat convincing that he wishes he actually could have donated the marrow to the boy had his escape attempt not been more pressing to him.

Although, I mean, yeah at the same time the man’s an evil bastard so we can’t pat him on the back too much.  The plotting and execution of the escape attempt, all the details and planning that eventually fold out before our eyes – first, we wonder what is he doing and then it all becomes clear.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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