Marion Hart
May 29, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You can almost hear the pitch for Desperate Measures: ”A cop, say, Andy Garcia, will do anything to save his cancer-ridden son, who needs a bone marrow transplant. The only possible donor is a ruthless killer-convict — Michael Keaton would be great. Just as the operation is about to begin, the sociopath leaps off the gurney and…all hell breaks loose.” The concept’s good, but the urge to rewind in disbelief at the mounting improbabilities — Garcia’s dad gets caught breaking into an FBI computer but pays no price — ultimately undercuts the suspense. While director Barbet Schroeder (Before and After) elicits strong work from Garcia and Keaton, his usually winning way with unconventional characters gets ground up by thriller mechanics. C+

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