Extreme Measures (1996) – Review

3 Stars

Extreme Measures is a movie that constantly flirts with becoming a better movie but then falls apart with a second act that strains credulity to the point of ludicrousness. Hugh Grant stars and produced the picture and the actor does a good job in a role that typically would have been earmarked for Cruise, Pitt, or Reeves. Screen icon Gene Hackman receives top-billing but he basically sleepwalks through his role, his trademark giggle after a line delivery is particularly distracting. So, the final product is a film that has a number of compelling scenes but too many story loopholes.

Dr. Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant) is on a late-shift when a mysterious man wanders in off the street and dies under his care. The odd night is compounded by the fact that the body has disappeared without a trace. When Guy begins to dig deeper he finds that the patient’s records have vanished also. Something is amiss at New York’s Gramercy Hospital. Gene Hackman plays an esteemed physician who is conducting an illegal medical experiment on homeless people and Sara Jessica Parker is Grant’s co-worker and only alley.

The last 30 minutes of Extreme Measures saves the film from becoming a routine action thriller. The screenplay poses an intriguing ethical dilemma and there is a fine scene in which Hackman and Grant make their case and both men have a reasonable point of view. If the action beats had been a bit more toned down and the intellectual argument of the piece had been further explored, Extreme Measures would be a great film instead of a good one.

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman, Sara Jessica Parker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *