Opened: September 27, 1996 | Rated: R
Yes, Hugh Grant is capable of more than the cute, tentative, romantic lead. Yes, he carries, "Extreme Measures." He has to since every time Gene Hackman shows up he immediately starts chewing the scenery.
"Extreme Measures" thrives on a horror movie-style tension that rises as Grant's emergency room doctor begins to realize that someone is kidnapping healthy homeless men to use a guinea pigs in medical experiments. Constructed in a way that as the film draws to a climax there is a significant amount of seat gripping, this edgy air is only thing that saves "Extreme Measures" from being just another twist on the old man-playing-god theme.
Hackman is the bad doctor hacking up the homeless in the name of medical advances in neurology -- he's trying to cure paralysis. Sarah Jessica Parker is an assistant on his payroll in the hopes of helping her paraplegic brother. Grant is the hero and puts in an notable, dead-serious performance, determined to prove his range.
But the picture isn't anything special. If "Extreme Measures" is remembered for anything it will be for allowing Grant to break out of typecasting.