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PRIME-TIME FLICKS

March 08, 1992|KEVIN THOMAS

In the 1983 James Bond adventure Never Say Never Again (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) director Irvin Kershner and writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. have put the emphasis back where it belongs: on wit, style and intelligence. Sean Connery embodies all this and more, and for his return he's got some adversaries worth his mettle: a gorgeous, outrageous Barbara Carrera and Klaus Maria Brandauer, who manages to be worldly, boyish and quite demented all at the same time.

The Mighty Quinn (KTLA Monday at 8 p.m., again on Saturday at 6 p.m.), an entertaining, neglected 1989 release, is set in Jamaica and stars Denzel Washington in the title role as a glowering cop and Robert Townsend as his boyhood buddy and murder suspect, who twist through sinuous alleys, tropical streets and crystalline beaches. Washington has the charismatic presence for this kind of comic thriller, and although director Carl Schenkel and writer Hamilton Fancer don't dig deep, they soak up lots of lemony sunshine and revive the rain-soaked night life and deep corruption of the film noir .

The 1987 hit Lethal Weapon (ABC Monday at 9 p.m.) is a big, shallow, flashy buddy-buddy cop thriller redeemed by Mel Gibson in the title role as a suicidal cop. Danny Glover is his apoplectic partner. Careening through the movie, Gibson generates an authentic sense of unpredictability and danger.

For all its good liberalism, the Robert Redford-directed 1988 The Milagro Beanfield War (KTLA Wednesday at 8 p.m.) hasn't progressed much from Frank Capraville. It centers on an impoverished young husband and father (Chick Vennera) defying a big-time New Mexico developer intent on exploiting the land.

Writers often reinvent their adolescence endlessly, and in the 1988 Five Corners (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) John Patrick Shanley reshapes his in an amusingly crackpot way. Shanley's alter ego (Tim Robbins), a tough but sensitive Irish-American kid in the East Bronx in 1964, joins the civil rights movement after seeing Martin Luther King Jr. give his "I Have a Dream" speech on TV. Like most movie pacifists, he's faced with a violent crisis: the return from jail of the neighborhood bully (John Turturro), jailed for attempting to rape the local beauty (Jodie Foster).

The Killing Fields (KCOP Saturday at 8 p.m.) is director Roland Joffe's riveting 1984 re-creation of the Cambodian War and its genocidal aftermath, shot by cinematographer Chris Menges in a style of scalding immediacy, with Sam Waterston as New York Times reporter Sidney Schanberg and the Oscar-winning Dr. Haing S. Ngor as the friend he had to leave behind in hell.

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