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Prime-Time Flicks

September 15, 1996|Kevin Thomas

In The Program (Fox Sunday at 8 p.m.) writer-director David Ward and his co-screenwriter, Aaron Latham want to show how the high-powered world of college athletics has become corrupted by greed and the limelight. They also want to show how innocence and the sheer love of the game can survive the corruption. This 1993 release tries to travel light and heavy, and the combination of noggin-banging action and deep-think doesn't gel.

The unrelenting, suspenseful 1991 hard-action thriller Ricochet (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) stars Denzel Washington as an assistant D.A. with a seemingly brilliant future until hit man John Lithgow is released from jail. He begins a no-holds-barred campaign of revenge for the eight years he's been imprisoned.

The actors in Tombstone (Fox Tuesday at 8 p.m.) playing bad guys and good guys and in-between guys spit convincingly, slouch well and reach for their pistols with aplomb. So much for authenticity. Just about everything else in this aggressively overlong 1993 Western, purportedly a "real" look at the events leading up to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, rings false, with a bunch of overweening actors playing cowboys. Kurt Russell is a cynical Wyatt Earp. Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday is classic camp performance, although it may not have started out that way.

Robert Resnikoff, in his 1990 directorial debut feature, The First Power (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) reveals a dynamic flair for action, but the extreme violence Resnikoff as writer puts into this sleek but grisly supernatural thriller is hard to justify. Lou Diamond Phillips stars as a hotshot LAPD homicide detective who captures a serial killer (Jeff Kober) whose San Quentin execution releases his evil spirit.

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (ABC Saturday at 9 p.m.) is the 1994 comedy, third in the series, in which Leslie Nielsen's Lt. Frank Drebin, though retired, is brought back into the action by a mysterious bomb plot. He's also having problems with his wife, Jane (Priscilla Presley)--and no movie hero was ever less suggestive to marriage counseling than the blank-faced Drebin.

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