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I Fought the Law (2002)

Dead Heat

The wrong set of circumstances can turn even a cop into a killer

Directed by:

Mark Mallone

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

In this action drama, Kiefer Sutherland plays Boston cop Pally LaMarr, who is unexpectedly forced to retire because of a heart condition. Feeling sorry for himself, his life goes downhill and his wife Charlotte (Radha Mitchell) sends him packing. Needing to sort his life out, he finds purpose in the purchase of a racehorse in partnership with his crooked step-brother Ray (Anthony LaPaglia). Ray is a conman who is always looking for the advantage, and he is interested in a horse that can be bought cheaply. He explains to Pally that this is because it has a medical condition that has been misdiagnosed and can be treated. Ray is convinced that the horse can be a winner if it only gets the chance, and the purchase and operation goes ahead.

They engage the services of a bent jockey trying to go straight, Tony LaRoche (Lothaire Bluteau), who they offer a share of the horse in exchange for his riding. He has been in jail, but is now out on parole and looking after his young daughter Sam (Kay Panabaker). Unfortunately, before they can win any money, Frank Finnigan (Daniel Benzali), a local mob boss steals the horse as a payment for Tony's outstanding gambling debts. Pally, Ray and Tony know that going to the police about the theft will result in violence, so they resolve to steal back the horse. However, Finnigan isn't going to make it easy for them and, even if they recover the horse, there's still the matter of the outstanding debt.

There is plenty of action and drama to the film, and the characters do become interesting. Pally does show a disturbing tendency to keep falling into the arms of his estranged wife, who is also seeing another man, which can get a little strange. The jockey's little girl Sam seems to serve only to act as a target for the bad guys' threats and as a catalyst to draw Pally and Charlotte together. Competently acted, and with some outstanding moments of humour, though, there is enough entertainment here to justify its existence.

It's Got: Moments of humour that are worth seeing.

It Needs: To make more use of the character of Sam and the relationship between herself and her father.

DVD Extras No extras on this DVD - disappointing. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

A Simple Plan, Phoenix, The Boondock Saints

Summary

While not a work of brilliance, there are enough thrills combined with humorous moments to make this film worth watching for the entertainment value.

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