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Prime-Time Flicks

September 29, 1996|Kevin Thomas

King of New York (KTLA, Tuesday at 8 p.m.) is a stylish job by that virtuoso of grunge, Abel Ferrara. Christopher Walken plays a feared New York crime lord who, at the start of the 1990 film, is released from prison after five years, with detention having inflamed his do-gooder's soul: He plans to strong-arm the city's drug lords into redistributing their booty to the poor. This strategy is more hypocritical than usual considering that Ferrara's filmmaking instincts are so clearly on the side of violence. But the film, which has passages of surpassing lunacy, is never boring.

The bounding teen idols in The Three Musketeers (Fox, Tuesday at 8 p.m.) just barely fit into the 1993 film's overstuffed 17th-century decor. Kiefer Sutherland's Athos, Chris O'Donnell's D'Artagnan, Charlie Sheen's Aramis and Oliver Platt's portly Porthos are an incongruous quartet: They're leaping and wenching and fencing, but they're also winking at the audience.

Tim Matheson and Mimi Rogers lock lips lustfully in A Kiss to Die For (NBC, Tuesday at 9 p.m.), a 1993 film noir. Their pulsating performances and the blatant Freudian imagery (borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock by director Leon Ichaso) lift the NBC movie above the limitations of its standard suspense-thriller script.

Andy Davis directs the best of the Steven Seagal films, the 1992 Under Siege (ABC Thursday at 9 p.m.). The movie is a good-looking high-tech thriller with a simple hook: It's "Die Hard" on a battleship, with Segal as a karate cook. Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey are the ace heavies.

Director Wolfgang Petersen's sleek 1991 suspense-thriller Shattered (KTLA Friday at 8 p.m.) moves with terrific energy, visual panache and a dry wit. The film takes us into the perplexed mind of a partial amnesiac. A near-fatal car crash has left him with no personal memories; this means that those close to him have the opportunity to re-create him to suit their own purposes.

KCET' Saturday night double feature is Network (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), that prize-laden 1976 diatribe against TV starring Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, and Truly, Madly, Deeply (KCET Saturday at 11 p.m.), a 1991 ghostly romantic comedy from England marred by much overly mannered acting.

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