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Violent Treatment

September 04, 1993

As a responsible newspaper, The Times, in editorials and columns, has tracked this city's rising appetite for violence, questioning its sources and influences.

For one striking influence, check the front page of Calendar, Aug. 20th ("In Woo's Hands, 'Target' Is Where the Action Is"). With a color photograph and prominent placement, Calendar highlights--in a negative review--the week's bloodiest movie, "Hard Target," which contains "fiery explosions . . . shattered glass and loving shots of larger-than-life rifles and handguns." Kenneth Turan called its "up close and personal violence" "unpleasant."

The same issue has a review of "King of the Hill," on Page 4, described as "one of the finest American films of the year--and one of the few which is really about America." From everything written, it sounds first-rate, a film of value, to which attention should be paid. And, if I am not mistaken, Steven Soderbergh is a director to be taken seriously.

Editors have as much influence as critics, and where they direct our attention has as much impact as the reviews themselves. Yet The Times assumes we are far more interested in "bullets and bodies dancing around in feverish combination" than in a film seemingly about personal perseverance and endurance during trying times.

JAMES MARTIN WOLFE

Los Angeles

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