blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Medicine Man (1992, John McTiernan)

Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco star in MEDICINE MAN, directed by John McTiernan for Hollywood Pictures.

Whoever–studio executive, director, producer, whatever–gave Lorraine Bracco another job after Medicine Man is a couple things. One of the bravest persons in Hollywood and, additionally, a film criminal. Bracco’s performance is astoundingly bad. I mean, the character is terribly written too–a scientist smart enough to run a foundation, but she doesn’t know a thing about, you know, science. Given Connery’s rather vocal public statements about women working… nope, even with them, it’s a real surprise. I mean, the film’s thesis reads women with degrees, awards and jobs of consequence are actually quite stupid.

I rented the film on my post-Thomas Crown McTiernan high, but besides a Die Hard homage at the opening (the film opens with the same plane landing sound Die Hard does), there’s no visible sign of McTiernan doing any good work. Most of his shots are composed for pan and scanning on video (a Hollywood Pictures edict?) and the ones he wasn’t cropping in his head aren’t any good either.

Connery seemed fine, but since Bracco’s the protagonist (and the narrator), it’d be hard for him not to seem fine.

Jerry Goldsmith’s score is awful too, annoyingly so. I think the filmmakers were trying for Romancing the Stone, only with really boring medical jargon.

The writers have, thankfully, either gone on to little or to really embarrassing films….

But, as I frequently lament the state of film in the twenty-first century, it’s occasionally nice to be reminded there have been lots of bad stretches and Medicine Man‘s got a firm place in one of them.



Directed by John McTiernan; screenplay by Tom Schulman and Sally Robinson, based on a story by Schulman; director of photography, Donald McAlpine; edited by Michael R. Miller, Mary Jo Markey and John W. Stuart; music by Jerry Goldsmith; production designer, John Krenz Reinhart Jr.; produced by Andrew G. Vajna and Donna Dubrow; released by Hollywood Pictures.

Starring Sean Connery (Dr. Robert Campbell), Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Rae Crane), José Wilker (Dr. Miguel Ornega), Rodolfo De Alexandre (Tanaki), Francisco Tsiren Tsere Rereme (Jahausa) and Elias Monteiro Da Silva (Palala).


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