Medicine Man (1992) Poster

(1992)

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7/10
Solid rainforest drama
discogoth9 December 2001
When this movie came out in 1992, many critics seemed to feel that it was mediocre, or average at best. Even as a hardcore Connery fan I avoided the film simply based on a handful of reviews I had read in the media at the time.

Fast forward nearly ten years and the mixed reviews here on imdb reinforced my apathy towards the film. It wasn't until I borrowed a copy through a local library that I finally watched the movie just now, and I fail to see why it's supposedly not up to par. I thought it was a fine film in most respects: the storytelling was good, the dialogue was snappy, the cinematography was wonderful, and it had a positive message. It's not an action movie, but I never felt bored at all...if anything, it was a refreshing change of pace and scenery, and Sean Connery continues to astound me with his versatility. His acting was superb, which is not really a big suprise, but he seemed more into this role than some others I've seen him in. Even the wig and ponytail looked real!

Like a lot of other people, I found Lorraine Bracco's character quite annoying, almost insufferable at certain points, but that's the whole point: her character is supposed to be like that, and the truth is that if she didn't come across as so irritating then that would have been failed acting skills on her part. I think she did a great job at being annoying, which is what she was supposed to do. I imagine that if you took some ivy league lab rat scholar and dumped them right in the middle of a situation and place that's totally foreign to them, you'd probably get a reaction like the one she portrayed. I found the two leads had a good chemistry, and the constant tension and conflict between them was very convincing and helped to propel the story along.

All in all an enjoyable film, but some of the other aspects could have and should have been expanded. I felt that they spent too much time searching the trees for the plant they needed, and the whole conflict with the developers was thrown in at too late a juncture. These aren't major failings however, so I'd recommend the film to anyone looking for something a bit different, and it's a must for any Connery fan. Don't wait ten years to see it simply because some critics didn't think it was a masterpiece. Screw the critics!
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10/10
McTiernan excellently weaves science, ethics and humor in this story about the search for a cancer cure in the jungle
rmiranda-119 December 2003
A fine movie, not to be judged on the basis of Hollywood's usual recipe for storytelling. The eccentric scientist Robert Campbell (Connery) who has found a cure for cancer out in the jungle, is not able to reproduce its exact composition. Biologist Rae Crane (Bracco) biologist has dropped in from academia to be his judge and jury and decide on Campbell's continued funding.

The film pays a fair amount of attention to scientific detail (such as "running baselines" and using "experimental controls") interspersing it throughout with lively and shrewd exchanges between Campbell and Crane. To that they add mildly sarcastic observations on field work and fund-raising committees. Whilst this scientific sub-story line runs along, we are shown glimpses of life in a sympathetic tribe for which Campbell has become a sort of sugar daddy. Ethics and personal choice confront both scientists as they struggle with the decision to reserve the last bit of serum either for the good of humanity or the life of one of the tribe's children.

McTiernan has weaved all these elements excellently and Connery and Bracco play their roles so convincingly that you could be excused for thinking they may have scientific backgrounds in real life.

The film is a feast for educated people - which is probably the reason why many of the critics have missed the fine points and proceeded to rattle off some vitriolic commentary more aimed, in my view, at self-aggrandizement than constructive film criticism. One even complained that Medicine Man didn't quite match up to Die Hard. Now there is a proper comparison for you.
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10/10
Medicine Man comments
kate10313 May 2005
In this day and age of too much reality, this movie shows reality on a grand scale. Toned down with a romantic story. Connery and Bracco are a matched team working in harness, plus the fact of the disappearing rain forests, allows this movie to work for me. I have seen it 9 times in the past 13 years and each time it is a pleasure to watch. Goldsmith's score is the icing on the cake. This is a believable plot. But then I was raised up on movies since 1935 and I wish there were more movies like this.

The scene in the trees is like a ballet. There is a real story here and I personally like the whole mix.
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10/10
Superb Score, Superb Movie
Bob-4529 August 2004
I've never understood why this movie is so poorly received. Sure, Lorraine Bracco is a bit shrill. No one said she came from a "high class" family, just that she was marrying well. My sister-in-law is a scientist with NIH and she came from humble roots. That Bracco got through to the tribe's medicine man when Connery had failed was the contrast between the two approaches the "white man" could make toward the natives. Bracco's negotiating skills and stubborn common sense contrasted nicely with Connery's unintentionally patronizing approach. Who COULD have been cast who would have been more convincing as the "civilized" woman "going native". Lauren Hutton, maybe. The solution to the mystery of "compound 37" was a genuine surprise, even though it was partially revealed on two separate occasions. The climax was intensely dramatic, ironic and sad; though, it too helped usher in the satisfying conclusion. Jerry Goldsmith's superb score raises what is already an outstanding movie. I don't care about anyone else's opinion. For me, "Medicine Man" is a "10".
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10/10
A moving film with a real message, not your stock-standard Hollywood flick.
dbrad8614 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I find this an excellent film staring Sean Connery and Lorraine Barcco, I've watched it over a dozen times. The film highlights issues of natural destruction that were very important during the 90s, particularly the destruction of rain forest and pervasiveness of Western civilisation upon small cultural societies.

Its a film thats been poorly received, partially I think, because it deviates from the "Hollywood" film that audiences expect to get from director John McTierman whose other titles include 'Predator'. The character Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Bracco) has not been received well by many audiences, some reviewers labeling her as a poor love interest/heroine. This is too simplistic and reliant on the stock standard structure of a "Hollywood" film. 'Medicine Man' is a film much more grounded in reality than it is in the aesthetically touched up films of "Hollywood" starting a lustful actress whose function is to provide a predictable love affair that undercuts the films plot. Cinematically 'Medicine Man' appears more like a documentary than a Hollywood film. It has no expensive sets, or perfected hair and makeup. The half naked natives are real, not America's ideal female body; the Amazon jungle in many shots is not the perfect 'sunset' look at nature that an idealistic 'Hollywood' film might produce; Dr Ray Crane is a character with a coarse voice, she's intelligent, wears unattractive glasses and loose fit clothing. At the lack of conforming to an 'ideal' and predictable character, Dr Ray Crane is more real. All of these help this film to diverge away from your typical 'Hollywood' structure and allow this film to present something real and informative about natural destruction which we might otherwise turn a blind eye towards.

If your looking for something informative and moving that's grounded in reality, I highly recommend this film. However, if you can't stand a film without the fast paced action, or the predictable fall in love at the end plot, be wary.
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10/10
I shouldn't have been surprised by this sleeper
JerBear-223 October 1998
A marvelous screenplay and great performances made this one of the better pictures of '92. The plot held my attention without the use of car chases or blowing up the superdome. Interesting, moving and intelligent.
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Medicine Man
presley-421 November 2002
The "Medicine Man" is set in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest which has become home to the eccentric Dr. Robert Campbell (Sean Connery), a biochemist doing field research. In befriending the natives and studying the `Tribal Witch Doctor' (Angelo Barra Moreira), he has accidentally discovered the cure for cancer from a flower extract that grows wild in the rainforest. He is assisted by Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Bracco) in trying unsuccessfully to duplicate the formula, before the commercial loggers come in and destroy his hope for a cure. Dr. Crane comes to the jungle with the motive of pulling the research grant for the project, as Dr. Campbell has been uncooperative with the bureaucracy. Coming to the jungle with guilt and regret from a prior research trip, `Morcara,' his work becomes his life, escaping reality and trying to compensate for the devastation he experienced. It was interesting to see how the natives accepted him, brought him into their `circle.' They accepted his medical knowledge and entwined it with their superstitions and natural remedies. He became so protective of the tribe, respecting their way of life, and customs that they come to trust him and call him the `Medicine Man.' The movie was released on February 7, 1992 and while the work of Director John McTierman, was different than his other movies "Hunt for Red October" or the "Predator," Sean Connery played out the part well. The sound of his voice is always welcomed. I've seen him in stronger parts, but I cannot see anyone taking his place beside Lorraine Bracco. The knowledge and wisdom of the experienced is passed to the inexperienced. I liked the environmental message that the director sent. The scenery was great from the tree top scenes to the trip through the jungle and the waterfalls. Anytime elements of nature can be used to heal the human body or someone can survive in the jungle by utilizing the natural habitat is a wonderful thing. It shows us everything actually depends on the natural creation of the earth from which it came.
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10/10
Still a worthwhile use of time
tikitracy3 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
We loved this movie when it came out, have seen it many times over the years, and re-watched it again yesterday over 22 years later. It still holds up as a really good film. Sean brings all his wit, charm, and pragmatism honed over his career, while Lorraine has her NY attitude and the right moxie for the role she is playing. While Sean can correctly portray any job, Lorraine's acting was really spot on to convey both the academic and cultural differences of her role. The actual scenes among the trees and canopies were some of the best photography work in a jungle, predating and helping build interest in the huge fad of zip lines that have since flourished. The story itself is about discovery and redemption, differences in cultures, and how they interact. The soundtrack was really unique for its time, easily identified for the South American influences, and is still one of the best to listen to independent of the movie.
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10/10
Bravo Bracco & Connery!
cherub43927 July 2007
This movie is definitely on my list of the top ten - all time! I obviously enjoyed it enough to comment, 15 years later. I looked it up just out of curiosity because it is one of my favorites. I can't believe that it didn't get better ratings or awards. Lorraine Bracco and Sean Connery both did a phenomenal job and no matter how many times I watch this movie, I find it to be extremely touching and entertaining. I cannot believe Bracco was nominated by RAZZIE for the worst actress. Who are these people? Anyway, BRAVO Bracco & Connery! The world needs more movies such as these, instead of the blood and gore, violence etc. we see each day now!
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10/10
Wonderful music, awesome plot, amazing drama!
dakkadakka-5703630 April 2019
A short legal disclaimer before I start - I don't consider myself a fan of "Rom-Coms"; and, I don't consider this movie to fall into that category, as other posters have said. The main thrust of the movie is not "boy-meets-girl"; but, a race against time to find a cure. Added to that is the crisis of conscience between the needs of the many vs the needs of the one. I have watched this movie many times since it first came out; and, it never gets old. While Lorraine Bracco's performance is slightly flat (not 100% immersed in her character, Connery is nothing short of amazing. His coming to terms with the inner demons of his past, as well as Bracco's transition from being completely pragmatic and detached to showing great compassion is the result of truly good writing. Add the superb composing skills of Jerry Goldsmith and you have a very amazing emotional rollercoaster ride!
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10/10
Mesmerizing ! Juju sky-flower & the Amazon Adventure !
kellwyn8630 September 2014
I decided to watch this movie thinking I would love watching it. And rightly so, it re-awakened the spirit of an amazing journey I never had or I might never be able to have.

"Life is strange, but down here it seems very precious."

Truly precious this life, Im glad at least I chose to watch this. Instead of just living in the cancerous tavern of greed and ambition to just succeed and further decreasing standards to just survive and calling it progress, our lives have been literally transformed by the hunt for unwanted unknown progress which can never provide fulfillment to our souls.

This is exactly what this movie signifies for me.

I believe that living so abundantly takes more than just courage and intelligence.

"Breeding is no substitute for intelligence."

  • Medicine Man


Watch this one ! its a glimpse on where mankind is truly headed and we're in the middle of it !
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10/10
outstanding movie unlike any other, funny exciting sad and inspirational(not in a preachy sort of way.)
Megpie101712 June 2004
This movie was great I have seen it about 5 times. Some people don't like this movie and that is because it is unlike any other out there. Also it's about the environment I'm not a big environmentalist and you don't have to be to enjoy this movie, but I don't think some people like that it is also about protecting the rain forest. But that is not all it is about it has a great story line, and also the acting is amazing. The characters really unfold you see why DR. Campbell is the way he is, although both people don't like each other in the beginning it is obvious that they are exactly what the other needs. The movie is great you don't have to be into the rain forest to enjoy it because there is a great story in front of the science information. This movie is exciting, funny sad and inspirational (but not in a preachy sort of way.) BOTTOM LINE: This movie is definitely worth watching you should give it a chance you will like it
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6/10
Adventures, drama and romance excellently performed by Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco
ma-cortes5 March 2008
This ecological drama deals about Dr Robert Campbell(Sean Connery), he's a biochemist working in the Amazon rain forest on a cancer cure. There arrives a scientific, Dr Crane(Lorraine Bracco), a researcher sent by the laboratory sponsoring. Campbell has found a cure but he has been unable to duplicate it . Then they seek desperately the missed flower about being eradicated by civilization. Meanwhile, a Bulldozers sweeping the jungle and time is running out.

The movie contains ecological adventure, an enjoyable relationship and breathtaking outdoors. In spite of Dr Campbell is grumpy and Dr Crane is obstinate, arise an agreeable chemical between them. The film is quite entertaining with some moments a little boring, but that doesn't detract for your amusement of a well-developed tale where drama, love and adventures mingle splendidly. Colorful cinematography reflecting marvellously the Amazon rain forest by Donald McAlpine. Sensible,sensitive musical score by the great Jerry Goldsmith, wonderfully appropriate when the protagonists climbed up to the top of the tallest trees in the Brazilian jungle. The picture is lavishly produced by Andrew G Vagna with his Carolco company and by Sean Connery. The motion picture is well directed by John McTiernan. He's an action expert director with hits, such as ¨Predator, Die Hard and sequels¨, and some flop, such as ¨Nomads and Thomas Crown¨. Rating : Acceptable and passable, the film will like to Sean Connery fans and ecology buffs.
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10/10
Everything - suspense, romance, humor, a film for adults and kids with adults, which emphasizes very real current issues.
Lynxspirit13 April 2006
One of the best films I have ever seen. The chemistry between Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco was unbelievable, especially considering their differing temperaments, moral attitudes and the fact that this wasn't a 007 flick - the sexuality was compellingly subtle and much more subdued sophisticated, even considering the primitive setting. This is family friendly, in fact I would strongly recommend this to very effectively get some of today's most important ethical questions and serious potential worldwide implications and consequences across to the kids, but along with adult supervision and interaction. I found this suspenseful, romantic, informative, funny, sad and very disturbing. With all that, it still presented the very real and urgent current issues that left me strongly drawn to pack my bags and act on them myself. 10 out of 10.
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7/10
misunderstood formulaic rom-com
SnoopyStyle13 May 2015
Eccentric scientist Dr. Robert Campbell (Sean Connery) asks for an assistant and a gas chromatograph after 3 years of silence in the Amazon jungle. The drug company sends Dr. Rae Crane (Lorraine Bracco) who is out of her elements. She finds Campbell completely immersed with the natives. She's actually there to judge his progress and whether or not to cut off funding. He believes that he has found a cure for cancer. Only he can't reproduce it and the bulldozers are coming.

I think people missed the fact that this is very much a formulaic rom-com. The serious matter of cancer cure and Amazon destruction masks that fact from almost everybody. The formula is simple. They hate each other and then they fall in love. I actually find Lorraine Bracco hilariously adorable but I guess most people found her annoying. Not everybody likes a woman who talks back. Jerry Goldsmith's music is memorable as always. This is a fun rom-com if one lets it be. And climbing among the trees is visually stunning.
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10/10
medicine man
zn1-58-14776628 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
this often missed film is a simply a classic in the Connery library of greats.

touching upon the destruction of the Amazonian and their way of life, the rainforest's and their secrets, it is a magical tour in to a way of life long long forgotten by so called civilised man...that in this chaos of the rainforest a cure for the modern killer cancer is alive and kicking....and could be lost...

for the scenery, the superb dialogue i would recommend that if it comes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon matinée get the kids sat down, get some popcorn and enjoy a modern classic....

i wonder if they real versions of Bronx and Campbell are out there...if they are then let us hope they can save what is left of an undiscovered country and still give us "civilised" people the cure for modern plague...
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Good film, pay attention
Poe-1710 January 2004
Killer, non-blockbuster (they can't all be, and shouldn't all be, box office smashes - there has to be room for really good small films) movie. Apparently a lot of watchers of this film spent a lot of viewing time yawning or chatting because most of their complaints are addressed in the course of the film.

This isn't a high concept story. It doesn't need explosions and chest beating, flash and deafening sounds to keep your attention.

Good movie.

Timely.

Scary if you think about it. Horrifying if you keep up with rare botanicals and disease.

Absolutely last note as to the film's worthiness ... Sean Connery.
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9/10
Why scientists hate movies on science
chemengmba26 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Scientist as good as this guy, which is top 10 in the discovery business, understands that ants make acid type proteins and flowers make alkaloids (mostly, with fruits the major exception). They look different to people like me. When I paused the movie at the structure, it showed an insect type component, not a plant alkaloid (bee sting poison versus cocaine). The structure would have been enough for the scientist in the first place, you don't need the actual compound. You just take something close and modify it, ie taxol from needles instead of bark. I hate being one of the few that noticed this. Lots of pharm companies have these guys out there. That is why drugs are so expensive!
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9/10
A great movie!
pschoess31 July 2007
With the beauty of our native earth, the gifts of nature, and the struggle between modern man and local people, this movie gives the viewer a story line of compassion, humor, and human love on multiple levels. Additionally there is an issue of balancing life...and death...and medicine, which is not uncommon in our world today. See in HD if possible to enjoy the scenery of the Amazon Rain Forest. I liked the main characters, although some of their interaction seemed inconsistent at the beginning. Sean Connery, in his typical handsome and rugged style - charms and and then angers almost with a switch at first. Yet, that is not unlike many of the characters he has played in other films. Lorraine Bracco was annoying with a mixed personality...but not unlikeable and became more lovable as her narrow mindedness dropped away. Seemed like there were a few "holes" in the lines and scenes - perhaps editing took out links that would help the viewer understand quicker what was going on. But then the beauty of a simpler life is that it does evolve in a way that doesn't always need words.
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Enjoyable and entertaining in an old fashioned way
antonjsw120 October 2013
While this film not a hugely profound experience, and has been sanitised for a mainstream audience, it is nevertheless enjoyable and entertaining. Action auteur John McTiernan tries his hand at a different genre, and for the most part, actually succeeds very well. He crafts an easy-going, stylish and witty film that while mainly dialogue driven is engrossing and well-paced right up to the films conclusion.

However, it is the conclusion that is the main weakness of the film. The film sets everything up plot wise very well, and I was expecting something more spectacular regarding the films climax. There was a great opportunity to have a much greater set piece as the audience never really sees that actual impact of the series of events that take place in the film's final act play out – too much is implied by jumping events forward to the aftermath of a major event.

Filmed on location in the Mexican jungle (doubling for the Amazon) McTiernan gets some very good performances from the Native American actors. While Lorraine Bracco in my view came in for too much criticism. Initially she does not seem to have a grip on her character and the performance comes off as forced – and is dangerously close to wooden. However, as the film goes along her character evolves well and gradually becomes more likable and warm. What probably complicates matters is she is up against the trenchant screen presence that is Sean Connery. Yet again he absolutely dominates the film by sheer charisma, and his flawed Robert Campbell character is truly engaging and carries the picture – but also makes Bracco's performance appear second rate for a large chunk of the film. However, Bracco getting a Razzie nomination was just an excuse for a bit of celebrity bashing.

Director McTiernan is ably supported by excellent technical contributions, most notable Don McAlpine's excellent photography, but particularly Jerry Goldsmith's outstanding score, which elevates the material and creates a terrific atmosphere. It is particularly effective in heightening the moments of tension towards the film's climax.

Overall, an enjoyable film that is marred only by Bracco's uneven performance at the start of the film, and a rushed in unsatisfying climax.
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8/10
Dr. Connery Seeks A Consultation In The Jungle
bkoganbing18 November 2009
Although the premise of this film is quite odd, Medicine Man is an entertaining film that has a great deal to say about what we're doing to primitive people and what setbacks we're giving ourselves in a greedy pursuit of the almighty dollar. Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco and the rest of the native cast shot this film in some of the tropical areas of Mexico near Vera Cruz which substituted nicely for the Amazon rain forest. No more back lot jungles for films any longer.

Sean Connery is a research scientist working among some of the primitives in the Amazon and Lorraine Bracco is sent from the foundation that funds Connery to check his progress. It seems as though Dr. Connery has mislaid a cure for cancer he just might have discovered. He got the cure from the advice of the tribe medicine man who pointed him in the direction of a flowering plant that only grows at the tree tops in the rain forest. He made a batch of serum that worked and hasn't been able to duplicate it, nor find another source of these plants.

Connery's search for the elusive plant reminded me of a scene in the John Ford classic The Horse Soldiers. William Holden played a doctor who prescribed a poultice of tree moss to cure an infection that was given him by a Cheyenne medicine man. John Wayne thinks Holden's been smoking some other Indian product, but as even us high school biology students are aware, penicillin is a byproduct of mold from tree moss. Holden didn't doubt its results and neither does Connery in his work.

The problem is that the Brazilian government is looking to bulldoze the area to create a road. And Bracco's foundation is threatening to pull the plug on the funding.

Connery is fine as the iconoclastic doctor who with his beard and long hair, when he doesn't have it in a ponytail, Sean looks like Buffalo Bill. According to the Citadel Film Series book on the Films Of Sean Connery, he and Bracco did not have an easy time of it, but they got through the film.

Although it would really help to have more a knowledge of biology and chemistry when Connery and Bracco get technical, Medicine Man is still a film that can be enjoyed by the lay person.
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5/10
just okay,...
MartinHafer13 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is an odd film as far as the subject matter goes, so that is most of the reason I score the film as highly as I did. As for the rest of the story, it's all filled with clichés and the relationship that develops between Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco is hardly convincing and just seems formulaic. Instead of making a serious film about finding chemical compounds in the Amazonian jungle to cure diseases, the film spends too much time on this romance and the film can't seem to decide what type of film it wants to be. And, when Connery does discover something truly amazing and world-changing, what happens next seemed all too predictable. I recommend this movie mostly to die-hard Connery fans--all others will most likely find this movie worth skipping.
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8/10
Sean and Lorraine make the movie
Matthew_Capitano10 July 2013
Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco lift this film out of the muck and mire to salvage it from drowning in it's own rain forest.

Bracco is an award-winning biochemist turned field researcher who visits reclusive scientist Sean Connery to decide if his work warrants continued funding. The appeal of the stars is what saves an otherwise mundane film (honorable mention to the cinematography).

The biggest problem here is a clumsy script which includes Bracco's terribly drawn character, plus director John McTiernan's strangely edited final product. He appears to have been smoking some really far out rain forest weed.

Ultimately a good movie, well produced, with handsome Sean and beautiful Lorraine to get the audience through the film's rough edges.
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8/10
"I don't think he knew it was me..."
smatysia4 June 2011
Well, I suppose a lot of people did not seem to like this movie. I did. It's one real flaw was obvious from the beginning, a preachy, environmental tone. Aside from that, it has a lot to recommend it. First, Sean Connery can scarcely do anything bad. He lifts a maybe ho-hum script into the sky. He is simply believable as his character at all times. Lorraine Bracco was pretty, and hit all of her part as well. Her nasal New York accent seems to have grated on some of the commentators, but I believe that it was the director's intent. The conflict may have been a bit formulaic, but you have to have SOMETHING to make a movie about. I'd say check it out.
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3/10
It was decent
tchaplin-122341 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is okay and I would recommend it to someone that would rather just want to kill some time or need something to just play in the background while they're working on an assignment or something other than that. Otherwise, if you want to take the time to watch it, go ahead. The acting was actually good considering that its lead role was Sean Connery so it was expected to have good acting. The flow of the movie was slightly muddled consider that it had some inconsistencies such as Dr.Crane's relationship, which was not once at all explained until she explained that she was engaged and having a wedding in the winter. The other inconsistency was Dr. Campbell's reason for staying there on the island for so long. The believability of the movie was a semi, meaning that there are things that they could have changed to help out the story such as the disease they decided to use and how they found the cure.
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