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‘Sean will be doing this for another twenty years. This is a man who plays 72 holes of golf and carries the bag himself; he won’t have a caddie or a cart. He hasn’t got to that point where he’s lazy, so he still wants to do things that are challenging. It's so much better working with that kind of pro because he knows how to do his job. and ifyou then have to put up with him telling you how to do your job you can survive that.‘ Having given the Greatest Living Scotsman one of his finest recent roles in The Hunt For Red October. director John McTiernan gladly called on Connery’s services again for the South American rainforest saga Medicine Man. In his best lovable gruff manner. the recently-appointed Patron of the Edinburgh International Film Festival plays Dr Robert Campbell. a brilliant but crusty research scientist whose jungle-based investigation of Amazonian plantlife has led to the discovery of a cure for cancer— and managed to lose it again in the process. When Lorraine Bracco‘s feisty fellow scientist arrives on the scene to tell him that his funding has been withdrawn, this bad news coincides with the steady approach of ‘development‘ work which will plough a road through the area of rainforest that holds the key to the medical breakthrough. And. ofcourse, while fighting off pressure

on all sides. the mismatched duo fall in love . . .

Although he describes it as ‘an entertainment and not a message movie‘. Medicine Man‘s blend of character-driven romance. potted chemistry and broad environmental concern is a sort of African Queen meets Horizon. It is something ofa change in orientation for McTiernan. who made his reputation as one of Hollywood‘s most accomplished action specialists with the likes of Predator and Die Hard. the latter almost a model of its kind. In this instance. the pyrotechnics department have little

Medicine Man: ‘A sort



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to do until the final reel. and it was this very storytelling challenge in Tom (Dead Poe! '5‘ Society) Schulman's screenplay that appealed: ‘You only have two people on screen for most ofthe time. which is a lot tougher to get right than trashing helicopters or blowing holes in buildings. because there‘s nowhere to hide. The special effect in this movie is that there aren‘t really very many special effects.‘

Although marking an undeniably enterprising career progression on McTiernan‘s part. critical response to the film has thus far been


one in SCHLON ' ' * * ANSWER,

of African Queen meets Horizon.‘

decidedly mixed. I am hardly alone in reckoning that the fairly low voltage generated by the central pairing - a problem of casting and scripting perhaps - makes the piece drag more than it ought, considering the high stakes at hand. Yet. for his part. McTiernan seems to have spent much of his European promotional tour defending the film against the treatment it received at the hands of the American movie mag Premiere, where a set report article was sceptical of Ms Bracco‘s thespian ability and portrayed Connery as a rather aloof old grouch.

‘You could have written that about any film set I’ve worked on,‘ sighs the director famous for his disdain of Tinseltown schmoozing and manoeuvring. ‘I don‘t know I can say that we had fewer difficulties in this case but we went into it comparatively undeveloped and came out with a movie three months later. having kept our health and, by and large. our discipline. We finished three days ahead of schedule. which presumably somebody might congratulate us on, but instead it‘s presented as some kind of failure.‘ (Trevor Johnston)

Medicine Man (PG) (John McTiernan, US. 1991) Sean Connery. Lorraine Bracco. Jose Wilker. 105 mins. All Odeons. All UCIs. Cannons: The Forge, Falkirk, Kilmarnock. Glasgow: Grosvenor. Central: Allanpark. Strathclyde:


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The List 22 May-4 in} 199215