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on July 30, 2002
It's unfortunate to see film maker Mark Malone who's previously shown real talent (Bulletproof Heart) descend to this level. There are more than a few problems plaguing this film, not the least of which are overly formulaic situations and characters.
There's the mob boss played by Daniel Benzali, a fine actor who is here wasted on a script that gives him very little to do other than spew out the tired cliches that all mob bosses do in films like this. There's the ex wife, played by Radha Mitchell, who comes back to her husband, who is, when all is said and done, in love with him after all. Not exactly what could be called original. There's the beleaguered hero, Pally, an ex-cop, played by Kiefer Sutherland, who, at 35, suffers from heart trouble but smokes and drinks anyway. Why? Because he's beleaguered, of course. That seems to be the only reason.
And there's the faithful sidekick, Pally's step-brother, played by Anthony LaPaglia, who offers the only fresh voice in the entire film because he's given the best lines--occasionally--some of which are very funny. But there's nowhere near enough of those funny lines to compensate for a very tired film. Dead tired.
The title refers to a horse racing scheme that LaPaglia's character has dreamed up to net them some cash, but it could just as easily mean the lack of warmth, excitement, and interest that this film generates. There's also a jockey, Tony LaRoche, who has an accent that is completely unfathomable. French? Italian? Eastern European? No one knows. Does it matter? Not really.
Pally gets kicked off the force because he can't handle the pressures of a cop's life thanks to his bum ticker. He holds a gun to his head. But we know he's not gonna pull the trigger. The only reason we know that is because up to that point he's the only character who's been presented, so how could there be a movie without him in it?
Enter his step-brother with the racing scheme. Enter the ex-wife with their, you know, confused relationship. Like, maybe they're still in love and maybe they're not. Does it matter? Nope.
A good film to avoid.
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on August 24, 2014
In all fairness, if you are a fan of horse racing then this might appeal to you in some special way. But the storyline just doesn't make sense to me, matter of fact it's terrible. I don't do spoiler alerts so I cannot properly tell you all the things that trouble me about this plot. What I can tell you is that the acting is nothing to write home about. It is "B" movie acting to say the least. It is a family movie, with a few feel good moments but that is the best I can say about it.
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on February 13, 2015
2002R: Maybe on one of those days when you need to kill time because you're trapped at the laundrymat doing the laundry because all your clothes are dirty, and it's playing for free on the TV. This film could've been sooo much better. Enjoy MFJLabs 3x
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on October 16, 2006
Kiefer Sutherland stars in `Dead Heat' a crime drama in which the star of hit TV series `24' can show more tender side of the character than he is often associated with. He plays Pally, 35-year-old Boston cop who is forced to retire because of the heart problem, and his acting is very good. Overall, however, there is not much that I can recommend in `Dead Heat' except some nice touch in showing the characters. The film tries to include as many things as possible, but few of them really materialize.

The story looks rather like a familiar one. Because of his early retirement, Pally starts to drink, and even thinks of committing suicide. His relationship with his estranged wife Charlotte (Rhada Mitchell) is not going well and he is not happy to know that she is now going out with someone else.

But Charlotte is also nice and caring, so she persuades Pally's brother Ray (Anthony LaPaglia) to visit him. Ray, who is accused of not being a law-abiding citizen by his too earnest brother, has a good plan to make money easily, and offers it to Pally. It is about buying a racehorse cheap, he says, and it is an easy job because he happens to know that the horse, which has not win any races recently, is actually misdiagnosed, only suffering from a polyp a small operation can remove.

When everything is going well, things get suddenly complicated because of a gambling-addicted jockey Tony (Lothaire Bluteau). From here, the story snowballs into blackmail, caper and even murder, but the film's overall tone is always light, not taking itself very seriously.

Unfortunately, for all their effective acting from Sutherland, LaPaglia, Mitchell, and Bluteau, the weak and unsure direction totally fails to give momentum to the otherwise unremarkable film. It is not funny when it tries to make us funny, and it is not romantic when it tries to be romantic. Feeble direction simply misses several good opportunities to make good use of the jockey's sullen little daughter Sam (Kay Panabaker, her feature debut), who could have been a little surprise (or gem) in this unconvincing plot.

It is true that Kiefer Sutherland shows in `Dead Heat' another side of acting talent, which is less eccentric and intense than most of the roles he had played, or he would play. That is good news, and the only good news here.
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on May 18, 2010
I don't think people are being fair to this movie. No it is not the most exciting movie ever but there is a real charm to it. The main character a cop named Pally is depressed because he was forced to retired due to his bum ticker. He spends some time being depressed and wanting to kill himself until his step brother introduces him to an idea to buy a horse, a shady one, but potentially lucrative. At first every one is on fire with happiness and expectations but then things start going down hill do to the jockey's gambling addiction. They have to do some quick thinking to stay on top but it forces Pally into situations that he wasn't prepared to handle and Kiefer does an excellent job portraying a guy thats just in over his head. Anthony LaPaglia is great as the mischievious but good natured thug step brother. All in all I was very pleased with this movie and enjoyed the drama and the comedy that this movie had to offer.
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on February 20, 2016
Awful if you are expecting to see action like Keifer played in 24 you will be disappointed . If you like horse races you may enjoy it. To me what a waste of money.
Signed disappointed
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on July 22, 2015
Uneven movie that tries to be a comedy-crime flick. Somewhat humorous in parts but there are much better crimedies out there, e.g., Fargo.
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on February 10, 2008
I have not laughed so much in years as when I watched this film. Kiefer Sutherland is excellent at comedy. His timing and expressions are perfect and he has a great partner in Anthony Lapaglia. If you are expecting an edge of your seat thriller as it mistakenly says on the DVD of I Fought the Law ( the alternative name of the film) then you will be disappointed. If you just want to sit back, relax and have a good laugh then this is certainly for you. It is lovely to see a different side to Kiefer Sutherland and such a relief if you are a 24 fan and worry about Jack's depressing life rubbing off on him. I have never regretted buying it, it has taken its place as one of my favourite films.
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on January 16, 2015
This movie is sooooo slow. I ended up fast forwarding through the last half. Look at the IMDB rating not the amazon rating.
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on June 27, 2013
This is a great movie one of my all time favorites who wouldn't love this ,movie great drama and good story line
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