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R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 09/26/1996,

Extreme Measures

If you're squeamish about hospitals, this silly medical thriller might get under your skin once or twice, if not cut to the bone. It starts with two convulsing, buck-naked old gents being chased down the streets of New York by unseen villains, having just escaped from some dungeon nightmare (i.e., not the subway). Our hero, a well-scrubbed ER surgeon (Hugh Grant), discovers that an Evil Corporation has been using vagabonds as guinea pigs in the name of cutting-edge research; then he goes under the knife himself while struggling to elude the movie's chief resident psychopath (Gene Hackman). Deleted computer files, a patient's odd-looking hospital bracelet, and the most well-funded clandestine operation outside the Pentagon all factor in an implausible script that borrows from Michael Crichton's Coma in exchange for minimal suspense. Meanwhile, the good liberal Michael Apted seems to think he's directing a film about society's exploitation of the homeless. In fact, the exploitation is all his.

-- Rob Nelson