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MOVIES OF THE WEEK

May 01, 1988|Kevin Thomas

Splash, Too, a TV movie sequel to the phenomenally popular romantic fantasy involving a nice young New Yorker and a beautiful mermaid, airs on ABC in two parts, at 7 p.m. this Sunday and next. Todd Waring and Amy Yasbeck inherit the roles created by Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.

Embedded in the incessant carnage that is Magnum Force (Channel 13 Sunday at 8 p.m.) is a terrifying possibility: that policemen, feeling hamstrung by the law and faced with an ever-increasing onslaught of corruption and violence, will take the law into their own hands. Unfortunately, this first sequel to Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" becomes too preoccupied with celebrating violence to keep its premise in focus.

Far, far past Apocalypse, in humanity's decay, the twilight of the West--this is where director George Miller takes us in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.). Mel Gibson is back for the third time as Mad Max, by now a weary warrior but one whose reflexes for heroism are still sharp. This time the villain is Aunty Entity, played by Tina Turner, no less, the queen of depraved Bartertown.

Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (ABC Sunday and Monday at 9 p.m.), is a new two-part TV movie on the life of the legendary Greek shipping tycoon which stars Raul Julia as Aristotle Onassis, Jane Seymour as Maria Callas, Francesca Annis as Jacqueline Kennedy and Anthony Quinn as Onassis' father.

Mad Max (Channel 11 Monday at 8 p.m.) is the 1980 movie which tells us how Max's saga began, as a highway cop defending his family against a biker gang. It was a crude but energetic tribute to American International Pictures, yet it launched Mel Gibson as an international star and George Miller as a major director.

Conan the Barbarian (Channel 13 Monday at 8 p.m.) revives the heroic epic in all its innocent pleasures on a spectacular scale and with a sophisticated style. Directed and co-written (with Oliver Stone) by John Milius from the character created over 50 years ago by writer Robert E. Howard, it's a classic struggle between good and evil. Also an homage to illustrator Frank Frazetta, it stars that Frazetta superman come to life, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must destroy the evil James Earl Jones. Evoking moments and motifs from De Mille biblicals to Maria Montez epics to Sergio Leone's existentialist Westerns, the 1982 Conan takes itself just seriously enough to be amusing and not so seriously as to be campy. Note: Channel 13 is also airing (on Wednesday) Conan the Destroyer, the worthy 1984 sequel directed by Richard Fleischer, in which Schwarzenegger takes on villainous Grace Jones.

The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story (NBC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a new TV movie starring Lindsay Wagner as the courageous TWA flight attendant who managed to save many lives on the infamous 1985 Athens/Beirut/Algiers hostage flight.

Loni Anderson stars in the new TV movie Necessity (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.) as a happily married wife and mother whose life is shattered when she learns the truth about her husband (James Naughton). John Heard co-stars, and Michael Miller directed from Michael Ahnemann's adaptation of a novel by Brian Garfield, author of "Death Wish."

The three-hour first part of the new six-hour Hemingway, starring Stacy Keach (pictured on the cover) in the title role, airs Tuesday on Channel 13 at 8 p.m. and repeats Saturday at 8 p.m. Josephine Chaplin, Marisa Berenson, Lisa Banes and Pamela Reed co-star as his wives Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary.

Airplane! (Channel 13 Thursday at 8 p.m.) is that light, fast and supremely nutty 1980 sendup of "Airport" and all its sequels. It's the work of the co-creators of the Kentucky Fried Theater, Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker. Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty star, but it's the veterans Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and especially Leslie Nielsen who create much of the laughter.

For all its plot potholes and other excesses, Michael Cimino's 1985 Year of the Dragon (Channel 5 Friday at 8 p.m.) lingers hauntingly as part documentary and part grand opera which pits two arrogant young men--Mickey Rourke's scruffy, hotheaded, newly made captain of New York's Chinatown precinct and John Lone's elegant, supremely cool leader of the Chinese Mafia. It's not quite the Godfather films, but it does leave us feeling that we've been smuggled behind the scenes of a closed world. "Year of the Dragon" is towering, claustrophobic and exhausting.

Selected evening cable fare: Lucas (HBO Sunday at 7); Swimming to Cambodia (Z Sunday at 7:30, Thursday at 9); An Officer and a Gentleman (Showtime Sunday at 8, Cinemax Tuesday at 8); Deliverance (Cinemax Sunday at 9); The Blue Angel (1930) (Bravo Sunday at 9:30); Three Men and a Cradle (SelecTV Monday at 7); Subway (Bravo Monday at 7:30); Once Upon a Time in America (Z Monday at 8); The Courtesans of Bombay (Bravo Monday at 9:30); Three Bad Men (Z Tuesday at 7); Les Comperes (Bravo Tuesday at 7:30); La Chevre (Bravo Tuesday at 9:30); Pandora's Box (Bravo Wednesday at 6:30); Brighton Beach Memoirs (Cinemax Wednesday at 8); The Threepenny Opera (Bravo Wednesday at 8:30); A Room With a View (Showtime Thursday at 8); Sugarbaby (Bravo Friday at 8); Lady and the Tramp (Disney Saturday at 7); Children of a Lesser God (SelecTV Saturday at 7); Dog Day Afternoon (WGN Saturday at 8:30); Outrageous Fortune (Movie Channel Saturday at 9).

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