DIRECTOR Paul Verhoeven's Robocop (World, 9.35pm) is better than your average adventure film. This is largely due to Michael Miner's and Edward Neumeir's superior script, which is full of the kind of intelligence and satire you find in those cutting edge British comic books like Judge Dred. And Verhoeven handles it all with invigorating style. Even the goriest scenes sparkle with oddball effects, tilted angles and wonderful special effects.
The violence goes a little over the top towards the end, but because Robocop is more than an excuse for blood and guts, you can almost forgive it. This is a gleefully dark vision of the future, where the robots are humane and the humans are moronic and unfeeling.
The film is set in the not-too-distant future in Detroit, where the corporate conglomerate that is running the city, under the directorship of Richard Jones (Ronny Cox) has developed a huge metal android to combat street crime. When the android demonstrates a murderous glitch, Robert Morton (Miguel Ferrer) sees an opportunity to advance his company position by building a better cop machine.
He gets his chance when cop Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is killed by a gang of sadistic hoodlums. Murphy's body is reconstructed by technicians and dubbed Robocop.
Ken Russell called Robocop 'the greatest science fiction film since Metropolis'. It's a bam-bam comic book creation that is definitely not for kids.
WORLD is showing Robocop as an introduction to the Robocop television series, which begins on Thursday and stars Richard Eden. More of that on Thursday. Pearl is showing Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (Pearl, 9.30pm) because it is the pilot to a new series which starts tomorrow. Dean Cain is the man of steel, and from the photographs looks like he will make a jolly good one, with obligatory kiss curl and no shortage of padding down his red underpants. Teri Hatcher is newspaper reporter Lois Lane and John Shea is the dastardly millionaire Lex Luther, played with panache in the cinema films by Gene Hackman.
KAZUO Wada is a man who seems to know in which direction he is heading. He has been making some big money, bigger than you or I will ever see, by snapping up buildings in Japan, Hong Kong and North America. Now, as The Asian Wall Street Journal Report (Pearl, 8.30pm) reveals, he is bored with that and has turned his attention to China, a gamble which some analysts like to think might lead to his demise, a la Alan Bond. Other reports include one on American chief executive officers under the gun - the heads of K-Mart and W.R. Grace have been given the heave-ho - and the price of a hotel room for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
Films on Cable Movie Channel: The Fabulous Baker Boys (1.00pm). Full of atmosphere, mood and attitude, but fails to base its evocative style on any real substance. The Michelle Pfeiffer-on-a-piano scene became a minor classic, and Jeff Bridges is in his most caustic form, spouting cynical one-liners as if his career depended on it. Oh yes, the plot. Jack and Frank Baker (Jeff and Beau Bridges) are a musical duo whose act consists of duelling versions of lounge classics. Frank decides to bring in a female singer and the nod finally goes to Susie Diamond (Pfeiffer), who's so sultry she's almost on fire. Tensions rise when the womanising Jack embarks on a potentially dangerous liaison with her. Steve Kloves directed and Pfeiffer picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but failed to win.
Love and Fear (7.00pm). Events set in motions at the 18th birthday of a girl called Sandra (Valeria Golino) have a dramatic effect on her life and those of her siblings.
Brothers in Arms (11.00pm). Political thriller about an Arab lieutenant in the French secret service who teams up with a Jewish vice cop to catch a terrorist. Richard Berry, Patrick Bruel and Corrine Dacla star.
The Cranes Are Flying (1.00am). Acclaimed Russian World War II love story, presented in English with Chinese subtitles.