20th Mar2019

‘Acts of Desperation’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jason Gedrick, Paul Sorvino, Erin O’Brien, Kira Reed Lorsch, Treva Etienne, Tim DeZarn, Neraida Bega, Dee Dee Sorvino, Vince Lozano, Chris Coppola, Matthew Alan Brady, Asante Jones, Tomas Johansson, Jackie Falcon | Written by Nathan Illsley | Directed by Richard Friedman

acts-desperation-poster

Richard Friedman, whom genre fans will know as the director of Arrow Video titles Doom Asylum and Scared Stiff, helms this cop drama starring Jason Gedrick – an actor who’s probably most well-known for the Iron Eagle franchise of the 80s but whom also starred in one of the most underrated TV cop shows of the 90s, EZ Streets. Friedman is no stranger to cop dramas either, having helmed episodes of Silk Stalkings and Baywatch Nights alongside a myriad of genre television.

With Acts of Desperation Friedman manages to parlay all his experiences into one film; the ridiculousness of films like Doom Asylum and Phantom of the Mall melded perfectly with the tropes and cliches of cop shows like the aforementioned Silk Stalkings – and yes, like that TV show, this movie overeggs the drama. And, given this is a Richard Friedman film, it also overeggs the laughs. For this is utterly and completely a RICHARD FRIEDMAN film… If you’ve seen any of his oeuvre you know what to expect.

Seriously. You only have to read the official synopsis to see that:

A desperate cop on the edge is obsessed over the fact that his beautiful but frantic wife is having an affair. At the same time, he tracks a desperately shrewd bank robber who is falling in love with a desperately obsessed woman whose life he just saved from suicide. As if that’s not enough, the bank robber is also being blackmailed by two desperately unhinged street criminals who will stop at nothing to get their money. Time is running out for all of them as their worlds collide.

Now if I tell you those “unhinged” street criminals are actually two stoners who live in a VW camper van,  leech other peoples wifi and obsess over pancakes. That the bank robber is called Glenn Klose and he robbs banks wearing a fake moustache and eyebrows that look like they’re made of carpet (and he gets mistaken for Morgan Freeman whilst in said disguise) . Oh and his explosives are so ridiculous that even one of the characters describes them as cartoonish. Then we’ve got the suicidal woman who, besides becoming unhealthly obsessed with Glenn after he saves her, also happens to be sleeping with the cops wife! And the cops wife is suing an Ashley Madison-like website to date other people and her husband, the cop, signs up and tries to get a date with her – in a storyline ripped straight our of the Pina Colada song!

In other words Acts of Desperation is actually acts of ridiculousness, the only desperation would be from the audience who were looking for a serious crime drama from this film. Poor Jason Gedrick, a man who can play REAL cops but who is instead here made to apologise to his opera singing boss Paul Sorvino for attacking kids for calling him names and for beating up a witness in custody, because he may, or may not, have been sleeping with his wife. Oh and that’s beside the fact he completely misses seeing Glenn on CCTV because he’s obsessed with his wife’s apparent infidelity.

Yes, this film touches on the tropes of good crime drama: obsession, mystery and intrigue; but it does so in the most preposterous way possible… I told you this was a Richard Friedman film!

Acts of Desperation is out now on VOD from Gravitas Ventures.

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