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Prime-Time Flicks

May 18, 1997|Kevin Thomas

Under Siege (CBS Wednesday at 9 p.m.) is one of Steven Seagal's best: A good-looking, high-tech 1992 thriller directed by Andrew Davis that takes its simple hook--"Die Hard" on a battleship, with Seagal as a karate heroic cook--and keeps ramming home the blood and glitz. Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey play the ace heavies.

Code of Silence (KTLA Thursday at 8 p.m.) is one of the better Chuck Norris action pictures, a fast, racy 1985 cop thriller with too much plot yet reminiscent of "The French Connection" and "Dirty Harry" in its best moments.

A Force of One (KTLA Saturday at 6 p.m.) is another of the better Norris movies, a swift, taut 1980 thriller in which Norris is well-cast as a karate school proprietor in a California coastal city recruited to combat an upsurge in drug trafficking.

White Sands (KCOP Saturday at 6 p.m.) is a snazzy but incoherent 1992 thriller starring Willem Dafoe as a New Mexico cop tracking down a murderer. Mickey Rourke is highly effective as a smooth operator.

Men Don't Leave (KCOP Saturday at 8 p.m.), a 1990 release, is a tonic, tender, beautifully acted, diabolically droll film on the subject of love, loss and the sheer unpredictability of life. "Men Don't Leave" doesn't depend on Jessica Lange's virtuosity alone, the other endearingly off-beat characters include Joan Cusack as a preternaturally self-assured hospital X-ray technician; Kathy Bates as the Baltimore gourmet shop owner who finally employs the widowed Lange and Arliss Howard as a witty, laconic composer.

Back in the groove after the misfire of "Star Trek V," Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (NBC Saturday at 9 p.m.), a topical-symbolic 1991 space voyage, supposedly the last for the Enterprise's original septet (Shatner, Nimoy and the rest), continues the tradition of even-numbered "Star Trek" movies being superior. But director/co-writer Nicholas Meyer and his collaborators generate so much star-struck dash and flash out of their last hurrah, with the dissolving Klingon Empire obviously paralleling the modern Soviet Union turmoil, that you may rightly suspect the valedictory premature----it was.

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