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Film / Medicine Man

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A 1992 film directed by John McTiernan, starring Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco.

Scientist Dr. Rae "Bronx" Crane (Bracco) journeys deep into The Amazon Rainforest to find out what Dr. Robert Campbell (Connery), a Bunny Ears Professor, has been doing since he stopped sending in status reports. Turns out he's discovered the cure for cancer. Well, sort of. He's "lost" it and he has a week to find it again before a logging company builds a road through the only area of forest where the cure is known to exist.

Tropes include:

  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: A very not-nice version. Dr. Campbell tells Dr. Crane why he doesn't want to tell anyone about the cancer cure he thinks he has discovered — because he knows of a doctor who had discovered a painkiller in similar circumstances, which resulted in a tribe being wiped out by swine flu when the drug company came down to mass-produce it. Later on it's revealed that Campbell himself was that doctor.
  • The Atoner: Dr. Robert Campbell, who blames himself for native villages being exposed to foreign pathogens.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dr. Campbell believes he has found a cure for cancer in the local tribe's sugar supply after realising that the tribe had a very low cancer rate. He figures out that the tribe uses a particular plant for all of their food but he can't reproduce the cure himself. However he didn't consider that the supply could be contaminated and also ignores their liking for sugar coated ants.
  • Book Ends: "I would like a meal and a bath." "Unbutton your shirt."
  • Cure for Cancer: Robert Campbell managed to find it with extracts from a species of bromeliad endemic to the Amazon, but unfortunately he couldn't seem to find it. It turned out that it wasn't in the bromeliads at all but through a rare breed of ants.
  • Going Native: Dr. Crane, at the end, deciding to accept the mantle of medicine man and stay in the jungle searching for the cure.
  • Green Aesop: Destroying the rainforest could be destroying the potential cures for countless diseases.
  • I Choose to Stay: Bronx, at the end, deciding to accept the mantle of medicine man and stay in the jungle searching for the cure.
  • It's All My Fault: Campbell was the man that accidentally introduced the swine flu to the other tribe, which resulted in every one of their members dying. Hence his insistence on Bronx' keeping a quarantine before interacting with the natives.
  • Job Title
  • Klatchian Coffee: Dr. Crane is given a local drink by Dr. Campbell that is 12% caffeine. She winds up hyperactive and babbling about how they could market the stuff. Amusingly, this predates the Energy Drink craze by about a decade.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: The small boy with malignant neoplasms, who Campbell and Bronx use the last of the serum on.
  • National Geographic Nudity: The movie has several scenes with almost or completely naked men, women and children, including a pair of shots of a line of women's buttocks when said women are helping the heroine in her scientific research. But since all the naked people are Native American, the movie got a PG-13 rating.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: At some point in the movie, the tribesmen talk about Juju. However, Juju is a reference to West African folk religion, and has nothing to do with Native American tribes.
  • Tribal Face Paint: The natives paint a blue design on Bronx's face. She later discovers that it is permanent.