Jimmy Smits heads an all-star cast in this fast-pace romantic drama about medical students trying to meet the demands of love, ambition and competition. As they enter their third year of medical school, a group of young st... more »udents prepare to leave the world of textbooks for the halls of a real hospital. Somehow, they must impress the chief of Surgery (Smits) while learning how to survive the life-and-death area of medicine and the complexity of their everyday lives.« less
"Adrian Pasdar and Diane Lane stand out as the med students who fall in love. The rest of the cast is just as talented and the majority of characters are three-dimensional (except the "bad guy"). This is an interesting look into the lives of med students: their duties, relationships with their patients and each other, their angst, ethical worries, and the political system within the medical community. There are enough plots and subplots to keep one's interest the entire time. There is never a dull moment and it turns out to be a fun movie and a well-written one also. One of my favorite movies of all time."
Been there, done that...
Cubist | United States | 07/07/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Made in 1990, Vital Signs still carries residual of the `80s with its cheesy soundtrack. The film follows the trials and tribulations of several third year medical students as they compete for limited internships and to do so they have to earn enough honour grades.
Vital Signs is an ensemble piece a la St. Elsewhere and, later, E.R. but without the former's quality writing and the latter's adrenaline-fueled pacing. In fact, Vital Signs feels like a feature-length TV show in the way it is paced and structured. The cast is fine if not somewhat bland, with the likes Adrian Pasdar (the nondescript protagonist in Near Dark) and Diane Lane (window dressing in The Cotton Club) who are given very little to work with. Pasdar is appealing enough with his hunky, all-American looks. He plays the kind of brash, young upstart that Tom Cruise was known for (Top Gun, Color of Money, etc.). Lane is as gorgeous-looking as ever and I'm sure many of her fans would certainly like to have her as their doctor...that is until she sends a little boy into cardiac arrest and dies (albeit accidentally). The chemistry between them is pretty good. However, their characters, as written, never transcend their stereotypes or the conventional situations that they find themselves in.
Vital Signs is a little too earnest but does have its heart in the right place, it just doesn't do anything to distinguish itself from countless other medical comedy/dramas on the big and small screen."
Very good movie about medical students
G. B. Rao | Dubai, UAE | 07/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very well taken movie that depicts the sacrifices and passion required for medical profession. Background score goes very well with the movie."
A movie to remind you why "ER" was such an impressive TV sho
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If it were not for the fact that there is a brief nude scene involving Diane Lane, you could well think that "Vital Signs" is a filed television pilot. But this 1990 theatrical film, which predates "ER" but might remind you more of "Grey's Anatomy" since it focuses on a group of third year medical students going through their rotations at a hospital. Dr. David Redding (Jimmy Smits) is the "dean" and head of surgery, and the main focus of the drama is the contest between Michael Chatham (Adrian Pasdar), the son of a famous surgeon (William Devane), and Kenny Rose (Jack Gwaltney), who is married to Lauren (Laura San Giacomo), but is too busy competing with Chatham for the big internship prize to give her even ten minutes to catch a quick meal together.
Other students in the mix are Gina Wyler (Diane Lane), who finds Chatham to be more sympathetic than Dr. Donald Ballentine (Bradley Whitford), and Bobby Hayes (Tim Ransom) and Suzanne Maloney (Jane Adams), who end up being closer than mere study buddies and are not sure what to do about it. Otherwise the students encounter your standard med school problems: a patient who dies for no apparent reason, fainting at the sight of blood, opening up a patient to find their condition is inoperable, and having a superior fail to listen to you when you know you are right.
Director Marisa Silver had worked on "L.A. Law," which might explain why Jimmy Smits signed on to do the film even though he is playing a supporting role to all of the young doctor wannabes. "Vital Signs" is okay, but given what we have seen on television since 1990 it just seems so pedestrian in terms of what happens. For those of us who were used to watching Victor Ehrlich train under Dr. Mark Craig on "St. Elsewhere" these young doctors have it so easy and it just seems so strange to see a theatrical movie that is so much tamer than network television. Being a cleaner version of "Gross Anatomy" is not a strong recommendation and you will find yourself being more impressed by "ER" no matter how far it has fallen from its once lofty perch. The acting is competent enough, but "Vital Signs" is also hurt by an intrusive musical score that is used to pump some life into scenes. More often than not the effort is counterproductive because you stop and realize what limitations in the film the music is trying to gloss over."
From "Vital Signs" to "Greys Anatomy"
Mr. Alan Chivers | PORT MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES Australia | 04/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Vital Signs" is a high adrenalin drama focussing on the lives of first year Surgical Residents at a large metropolitan hospital. The TV series "St. Elsewhere" together with "Vital Signs" may have set the tone for TV series such as "ER" and "Chicago Hope", but "Vital Signs" most certainly has set the tone for "Grey's Anatomy". Jimmy Smits turns every character he plays into a golden moment. His role in this film, as mentor to the young doctors, is no exception. If you love "Grey's Anatomy", you'll really appreciate "Vital Signs"."