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Prime-Time Flicks

January 16, 1994|Kevin Thomas

Distant Thunder (KTLA Sunday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 a.m.) is a heavy-handed 1988 movie about a Vietnam vet (John Lithgow) living in the wilderness but trying, after 16 years, to re-establish ties with his teen-age son (Ralph Macchio).

Fred Schepisi's 1990 film of John le Carres The Russia House (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) is an elegant but disappointingly uninvolving spy drama set in Russia. Sean Connery stars as a British publisher who becomes involved in espionage through a beautiful Russian woman, played by Michelle Pfeiffer with a flawless Russian accent. The stars' glow is not sufficient to sustain interest through a thicket of unexciting developments.

Blade Runner (KTLA Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) takes place in a used-up future: Los Angeles in 2019, a dense and ominous metropolis. The Japanese and the Latinos have tipped the population balance in their direction. With most of its neon signs in Asian characters, South Broadway looks a bit like the Ginza in rush hour. Director Ridley Scott and his crew have made a sensational-looking picture--a 1982 release--that combines film noir and sci-fi to probe a highly dangerous world in which it's hard to tell who is human anymore and who is or who is not a replicant--robots that turn deadly when they become defective. One of those who can tell is ex-cop bounty hunter Harrison Ford, reluctantly pressed back into service.

The Big Easy (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.), a 1987 release, is more memorable for the sizzling chemistry between Dennis Quaid's New Orleans police lieutenant and Ellen Barkin's Eastern-born assistant D.A. than its police corruption plot; the sex may well have been toned down for TV.

The 1981 Brooklyn Bridge (KCET Thursday at 8 p.m.) is yet another of Ken Burns' engrossing documentaries.

No Mercy (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) is a gaudy, violent 1986 love-on-the-run thriller that finds Richard Gere's rebellious Chicago cop and Kim Basinger's fiery New Orleans moll handcuffed and racing through the Louisiana bayous. Sleek, violent and empty.

18 Again! (KTLA Saturday at 6 p.m.), a relentlessly unfunny 1988 switched-identity comedy, finds George Burns turning up in the slight body of his 18-year-old grandson (Charlie Schlatter, the movie's one bright spot).

The Parent Trap (ABC Saturday at 8 p.m.) is the tremendously popular 1961 Disney picture in which Hayley Mills plays twins who have been raised apart but join forces in attempting to reunite their divorced parents, played by Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith.

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