Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Corrective Measures, on Tubi

In comic books, when super-villains break out of prison, superheroes just catch them and stick them back in again. They finally built a better mousetrap, San Tiburon, a facility in an undisclosed location, fully loaded with super-power nullifiers. However, the big dangerous supervillains still have their natural strength and in the case of “The Lobe,” his advanced intelligence. A new inmate finds himself caught in the crossfire of an ongoing power-struggle in Sean Patrick O’Reilly’s Corrective Measures, based on Grant Chastain’s graphic novel, which starts streaming this Friday on Tubi.

According to the derivative backstory, San Tiburon is operated by a company very much like Vogt in
The Boys. They may or may not have been responsible for the string of natural disasters that also somehow caused the development of diverse superpowers in select individuals. By law, anyone convicted of a crime who is known to have powers must be incarcerated in San Tiburon. Unfortunately, that includes Diego Diaz, a mere empath. Basically, he is a super-Bill Clinton, who feels your pain, acutely.

San Tiburon should be a potentially fatal experience for him, but he catches a break when he stops the super-vigilante Payback from murdering the Lobe in the infirmary. Basically, the Lobe is a Professor X-like supervillain, who amassed a fortune through telepathic mind-control. The inmates revere him, so they cut Diaz some slack. However, Warden Devlin, make that Overseer Devlin, intends to extort the Lobe’s fortune from him, before his impending retirement, using threats of lobotomies and the like. Somehow, Diaz might figure in the Lobe’s counter-plans.

It is kind of awkward to review Bruce Willis film after the recent announcement of his diagnosis. Although many of his VOD films have been tarred with a broad brush, Willis has actually been pretty good in some of them, like
American Siege and Acts of Violence. In this case, let’s just say he is miscast as the Lobe, a role that really requires the sort of sneering scenery-chewing John Malkovich could have brought to the table.

Regardless of all that, O’Reilly’s adaptation of the graphic novel manages to offer a few fresh spins on the superhero genre. It definitely follows in the tradition of prison movies, openly sympathizing with a number of inmates. In fact, Tom Cavanagh is terrific as Gordon Tweedy, a.k.a. The Conductor, a now forgotten supervillain who teaches Diaz the ropes of super-prison life. Also to the film’s credit, Kevin Zegers and Kat Rushton create surprisingly multifaceted portrayals of prison guards Brody and Morales. On the other hand, the usually great Michael Rooker goes ridiculously and abrasively over-the-top as Devlin.

Arguably, the sleazy Vogt-ish stuff holds back
Corrective from fully establishing its own identity. Frankly, if it were government bureaucrats who accidentally created the super-crisis, it would probably make more sense. Nevertheless, super-villains in a super-prison helps it stand apart from vastly more expensive, but more generic tentpole movies. Mostly recommended as a free-streaming curiosity, Corrective Measures premieres this Friday (4/29) on Tubi.