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San Francisco police officer Frank Connor is in a frantic search for a compatible bone marrow donor for his gravely ill son. There's only one catch the potential donor is convicted multiple murderer Peter McCabe 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 must pursue and, ironically, protect the deadly fugitive who is his son's only hope for survival.
Though the first impression of DM is that is an action movie, the action is sparse in this movie, save for a tense standoff in an operating room, the fiery destruction of a bridge linking two parts of the hospital, and a high-speed chase through the streets of San Francisco. Instead, DM is more of a psychological drama, with the theme of displaced loyalties at its core, a common facet in the films of John Woo. Conner finds himself caught between the mutually exclusive goals of saving his son's life, and fulfilling his obligation to his badge and his fellow officers. His desire to save the life of his son comes at a high price, to the point of allowing his fellow police officers to be shot, or placing himself between a sniper's bullet and McCabe. Similarly, McCabe is driven by his desire for freedom, but it is incompatible with the part of him that sympathizes for the boy's plight. And though director Barbet Schroeder (whose last outing was "Kiss of Death") and writer David Klass push the plausibility of the premise to its limits with the lengths that Conner is willing to go to and the paradoxical bond that the two adversaries find through the dying boy, DM manages to show just how similar these two characters are, and there is a glimmer of sophistication in these dramatic proceedings, albeit very dim.
Michael Keaton steals the show as the cold and creepy McCabe, who adds a certain degree of tension to his scenes with his portrayal of a vessel of pent-up anarchy about to explode, and it is almost worth the admission just to see him leer. On the other hand, Andy Garcia lacks the intensity in his portrayal of the morally-ambiguous cop, which further damages the believability of his character. A surprisingly mature performance is also found in Joseph Cross, who plays the prototypical 'sick kid' with a degree of distinction through some self-reflexive consideration of his own mortality. Finally, Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Matthew's doctor, and Brian Cox, as Conner's boss, manage to acquit themselves nicely in their somewhat limited roles.
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