Adapted from Grant Chastain’s graphic novel of the same name, Corrective Measures centres around the inmates of San Tiburon, a maximum-security prison that houses the most violent and dangerous superpowered criminals known to man. When Payback (Dan Payne), a dim-witted, muscle-bound vigilante, whose mission is to hunt down “enhanced humans”, enters San Tiburon, tensions rise as he encounters a throng of highly dangerous criminals, each with their own sinister, sordid agenda. This rogues gallery of ne’er do wells includes; Diamond Jim (Daniel Cudmore) The Conductor (Tom Cavanagh), and Julius “The Lobe” Loeb (Bruce Willis), a mind-reading evil genius who is top of the food chain in San Tiburon.
In one of his last on-screen performances, Willis’ role is restricted to little snippets of dialogue that cut through the exposition dumping from other characters, likely due to his recently recognised health concerns. That being said, his star-power is still felt, and he casts a looming and frankly impressive shadow over his incarcerated counterparts.
Our entry to the criminal world of San Tiburon – or SanTib as it’s often referred to – may be with Payback. But it’s his fellow inmate, the nascent and naive Diego Diaz (Brennan Meija) who provides seemingly all of the emotional weight in Corrective Measures. As he is pulled deeper and deeper into the sordid trappings of The Lobe’s masterplan. Standing in their way however, is the corrupt and cantankerous warden Devlin, played by none other than Michael Rooker. Dialing his performance up to eleven, affecting a hammy southern drawl and painfully chewing up every scene he’s in throughout the film’s near two-hour run time.
Thankfully, what works well are the tightly contained, well choreographed action scenes. There’s weight behind each punch, kick or flurry of supernatural powers, and each actor sells these well. Notably Dan Payne, who’s no stranger to the action genre and is perhaps best known for his roles in Watchmen (2009) and The Cabin in the Woods (2011).
What’s instantly apparent is that the debut director, Sean Patrick O’Reilly, has a clear understanding of the genres (and their myriad tropes) that he not so subtly pulls from. Leaning into the conventions established by previous prison thrillers, and even at times attempting to critique the American judicial and prison systems like its predecessors, albeit without much pathos. On its surface, Corrective Measures is a superhero movie cut from the same cloth as 2016’s Suicide Squad. A high-octane, genre-heavy ensemble piece that reaches for something loftier than its ambitions should be. Unfortunately it is ultimately let down by stale, unfunny attempts at banter between its plethora of dislikable characters.
That being said, there are promising signs. For a first time director like O’Reilly to craft a film so inspired by the kind of comic-book fiction that’s clearly close to his heart, while still seeking to play with other genre conventions and touch upon real life issues is commendable, despite more often than not missing the mark.
Dazzler Media presents Corrective Measures on Blu-ray, DVD & Download-to-Own from 11th July