Playing God
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -3

TV 's hearthrob, David Duchovny of "The X-Files," stars as Dr. Eugene Sands, a skilled surgeon who has lost his medical license because of his drug addiction. One night in a sleazy Los Angeles bar he witnesses a violent shooting. The surgeon's skill saves the young gangster's life and the mob boss, Raymond Blossom (Timothy Hutton) quickly sees how useful Sands can be. He lures Sands into his web with promises of restoring the young doctor's credentials if he will take care of his henchman often shot up in gang wars. Sands' non-violent nature is repulsed by Blossom, but his desire to practice is even stronger. Blossom's seductive girlfriend, Claire (Angelina Jolie) becomes an ally of Sands as he becomes drawn deeper into the psychopath's evil schemes. Who is playing God here? Sands and his life-saving deeds or Blossom's inflated opinion of himself that he can control the world? Preview predicts this action-filled film will register high at the box office only because of Duchovny's star power and the movie-going public's high tolerance for blood and gore.

The doctor's drug addiction does not glorify the use of drugs, and even points out how promising careers are ruined by it. Claire exhibits quiet bravery, putting her life on the line as an informant for the FBI while submitting to Blossom's affection. On the other hand, the film's violence is so excessive and gratuitous, it overshadows any positive features. Even Sands' medical procedures include closeup views of bloody wounds. During a barroom operation, he instructs a bystander to put her finger in the open, gushing bullet hole. Blood gushes everywhere as Blossom's henchmen casually massacre without blinking an eye. Gunshot blasts at times drown out the dialogue, which is filled with filthy obscenities. Although 70 f-words, 7 s-words and 3 regular profanities were clearly heard, possibly more were diffused by the continuous gunbattles. PLAYING GOD has no sex scenes and one incident of obscured breast nudity. This is another dangerous example of how violence and foul language desensitize us, and thus become entertaining to us.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures (Disney) Buena Vista, 500 S. Buena Vista, Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 3, Moderate 9
Obscene Language: Many (81) times - F-word 70, s-word 7, other 4)
Profanity: Few (3) times - All regular (G-d 1, J 1, C 1)
Violence: Continuous (slaughter of unarmed people by automatic weapons, bloody gory aftermath, surgical procedures graphic and up close, some kicking and fighting)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near nudity - once (woman in see-through bra)
Homosexual Conduct: None, but two thugs portrayed as gay
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man caresses woman)
Drug Abuse: Many times (doctor addicted to drugs, gangsters often high on drugs, drinking in bar, smoking)
Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults with high tolerance for violence

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