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Review of the day for the week of April 19, 1998.

Monday:
Patriot Games

Patriot Games
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With the exception of the Star Trek movies, Harrison Ford is sensational at playing those big important hero parts. Not to mention that, although he may be way old, he's still pretty sexy. Yeah, he's the perfect actor all right.

Okay, you're probably waiting for me stop babbling my ode to Ford and get to my point, huh? Sorry, I was trying to review Patriot Games and I got a little off course.

Ford plays Jack Ryan, a former CIA agent who now teaches at a military academy. While vacationing in Europe with his family, he witnesses an important political figure being shot at and, while rushing to save the day, takes a bullet in his chest. Naturally, this earns him instant hero status - and the CIA asks him back. He turns them down, but when his family is targeted, he changes his mind, and sets out to find and kill his new enemies.

Patriot Games is a fast-paced, engaging thriller that you will probably enjoy even if you're not a big Harrison Ford fan - but then, who isn't?

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Clear and Present Danger

Clear and Present Danger
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When they made U.S. Marshals, the sequel to The Fugitive, they forgot one thing: Harrison Ford. Fortunately, producers did not make the same mistake withClear and Present Danger, the sequel to Ford's Patriot Games.

Ford once again plays Jack Ryan, a CIA agent on the case. This time, he's working with the President, whose close friend was murdered - mainly because of his drug trafficking business. A couple of the President's key employees are also involved, and send troops to the South American jungle without anyone's knowledge. The plot gets rather complicated, and Ryan goes to South America to figure out what's going on. The action scenes were longer and more tedious than in Patriot Games, but hey, it still has Harrison Ford in it (All the other actors were also commendable.) Clear and Present Danger with its intricate plot is almost as excellent a thriller as Patriot Games

.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Knock Off

Knock Off
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Knock Off is a plotless, confusing mess of a movie that never quite manages the feat of making sense - or providing something commonly known as entertainment.

From what I could gather, a bunch of spies, CIA agents, and con artists (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lela Rochon, Rob Schneider, Paul Sorvino) are all mixed up in a counterfeit textile scheme. You never can quite figure out which ones are supposed to be the good guys, and they switch roles so many times you still can't tell by the end of the movie. Apparently, somebody wants to plant tiny explosive chips in the counterfeit products and detonate them once they are sold, killing many innocent people. (The motive was never quite clear, either.)

The acting is terrible, especially on the part of Lela Rochon, who was at least somewhat better in Why Do Fools Fall in Love?. She literally looks like she's reading her lines. Even Paul Sorvino can't overcome the lack of good scripting. Knock Off will certainly be knocked out of the box office and straight into video stores, FAST.

My Rating = One Star

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Thursday:
Funny Girl

Funny Girl
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Although Funny Girl wasn't quite as satisfying a musical as Evita, it does provide a fair share of amusement.

Barbra Streisand, who has a remarkable voice with a rather annoying Bronx accent, stars as a young woman who wants to be a Broadway star. Unfortunately, she's not as beautiful as most of the Broadway singers, but she manages to get a few parts and works her way up the ladder. After a while, she becomes a successful comic as well as a singer.

Meanwhile, she carries on an on-again off-again relationship with a compulsive gambler and drifter. When she eventually marries him, it's pretty obvious that the honeymoon's going to be over extraordinarily fast. Before you know it, he's lost all his money, they have to sell their house, and she's not happy.

What can I say, I saw it coming. This is sort of like watching a soap opera - when you know what's going to happen and you just want to smack the characters for being so inept. Still, that's what makes soap operas more addictive than cancer sticks or coffee. It's kind of fun saying "I told you so" - even if it is just to a TV screen.

And I did enjoy the music and comedy in Funny Girl, even if Streisand's accent grates on your ears a little at times.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Friday:
National Lampoon's Class Reunion

National Lampoon's Class Reunion
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National Lampoon's Class Reunion is an offensive, gross, and utterly idiotic film that ranks with the likes of Dead Man on Campus and Something about Mary.

At a ten-year class reunion, a group of very diverse former classmates discover that one of them plans to kill the rest. That would be Walter Baylor, (Blackie Dammett) who, on graduation night, was tricked into unknowingly having sex with his twin sister. For pulling this sick joke on him, he wishes to make the rest of his old classmates pay, big time!

These idiots provide quite a comedy routine. There's the ditsy model from New York (she's the one Walter thought he was having sex with), the former cripple who sold her soul to the devil in order to heal herself, and Gary Nash, the guy that no one seems to remember. And those are just a few examples.

Almost every scene is funny in Class Reunion I particularly liked one woman who hysterically cried, "I can't die! I still have six pounds to lose". Such is the nature of humor throughout this not-so-creepy but very laughable film.

My Rating = Three Stars

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