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Prime-Time Flicks

September 21, 1997|Kevin Thomas

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (NBC Sunday at 8:30 p.m.) Equally at home in small-scale skirmishes and complex, bravura effects, director James Cameron flamboyantly underlines (with a lot of help from Arnold Schwarzenegger) why the pure adrenaline rush of motion is something motion pictures can't live for long without. This is one hell of a wild ride, a Twilight of the Gods that takes no prisoners and leaves audiences desperate for mercy.

The 1995 murder thriller Just Cause (NBC Friday at 9 p.m.), starring Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne, is set in the Florida Everglades. Connery plays a Harvard Law professor who decides to take on the case of a young black man (Blair Underwood) on death row he believes was unjustly accused eight years earlier of murdering a 10-year-old girl. His confession, obtained after 22 hours of torture at the hands of the local arresting officer (Fishburne), is openly disbelieved by his sympathizers.

The best thing about Drop Zone (NBC Saturday at 9 p.m.), a 1994 release, are the stunt sky-divers who dive-bomb through the air at speeds of 200 mph. Director John Badham is smart enough to keep the stunt divers at the center of the action. And a good thing too: The script is so preposterously contrived and tone-deaf that any attempt to play it straight would be laughed off the screen. Wesley Snipes plays a U.S. marshal tracking down a team of extortionist stunt sky-divers.

Jesus Christ, Superstar (KCET Saturday at 9 p.m.), Norman Jewison's full-blown, stereophonic 1973 film of the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera of the life of Christ, is so overpoweringly staged it's difficult to become involved in it. Rugged, historic Israeli locales serve as the dramatic backdrop for the opera, which stars Ted Neeley. Jesus Christ, Superstar comes on strong but for the most part lacks the truly spiritual.

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