Extreme Measures

Bomb Rating: 

Gene Hackman must be kicking himself for not getting caughtwith a hooker in his younger days because here he is -- an Academy Award winning actor -- and this little English wussy, Hugh Grant, is getting top billing. To make matters worse, Gene has to take the proverbial foot in the ass from model Elizabeth Hurley, who not only "produced" the film, but is also Hooker-Boy's "girlfriend." It's really something of a miracle that Grant has managed to find co-stars who aren't inflatable.

If Hackman didn't have enough impetus to get out of this sinking project while he could, the premise should have provided him with some more. Hugh plays Dr. Guy Luthan, an ER physician who rides a motorcycle and discovers a huge conspiracy in the New York medical community. However, as ER doctors will tell you, they're more likely to stick syringes in their eyeballs than ride motorcycles. Though this small detail rendered Grant's character patently ludicrous, the thought of Grant flying out of his seat and skidding a few hundred feet on his face did produce some edge-of-my-seat excitement.

The conspiracy involves Dr. Lawrence Myrick (Hackman), who's experimenting on homeless people in hopes of finding a cure for spinal injuries. The first victim discovered by Luthan just happens to wander into hospital in which Luthan works -- and just happens to be English as well. This is like two small rocks colliding by accident in the deepest, darkest part of space. In addition, the whole story rests on the assumption that the giant conspiracy raged concealed for years until the Grant just happened to wander across it and single-handedly thwart it. Given these tremendous gaps in logic, it's clear that the only script doctor of any use to "Extreme Measures" would have been one named Kevorkian.

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