Explosive marriage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 October, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 October, 1996, 12:00am

I once read a comment by a Hollywood producer that there were no new plots left in the world - just different versions of the same old ones.

Wedlock (World, 9.30pm), with Rutger Hauer and Mimi Rogers, certainly has the ring of Speed about it.

Set in the near future, Hauer, looking porkier than usual, finds himself in jail and fitted with a collar that will explode if he strays more than 100 metres from the inmate, Rogers, with whom he is partnered. Aspects of the story are remarkably similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Running Man.

So, just in case any Hollywood hotshots happen to be in town and are reading, here are a couple of plot ideas on the theme.

A comedy about a married couple (Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn) who are allergic to each other; they can't stay touching for more than five minutes without erupting in hives.

An airline thriller about a hijacked 747 that can't drop beneath 9,000 metres without a bomb going off; the hero would have to be Harrison Ford.

Wedlock, incidentally, is a mediocre thriller also starring Joan Chen, but there are those who will be thrilled to think that prisons may become unisex in the future.

A much better film is Bat *21 (Pearl, 9.30pm), with the uncompromisingly good yet unprepossessing Gene Hackman.

It's hard to believe that Hackman only turned to acting at the relatively late age of 30, after serving briefly in the Marine Corps, studying journalism and holding numerous different jobs.

He studied at the Pasadena Playhouse, where, it is widely rumoured, he and an equally unlikely looking leading man, room-mate Dustin Hoffman, were labelled the 'least likely to succeed'.

Bat *21 was made in 1988 when Hackman also made Woody Allen's Another Woman and Full Moon in Blue Water.

While his performance is characteristically solid, the Vietnam War film resorts on occasion to cliched images to extract emotion - machete-wielding peasants, angelic Vietnamese faces and North Vietnamese Army atrocities.

The title refers to the codename for Hackman, a career soldier with little frontline experience.

He finds himself stranded behind enemy lines and his only chance of being guided to safety is through a jungle route mapped out by Danny Glover, with whom he has radio contact.

Let's hope those watching On Track (World, 8pm) will get the message, if they haven't already, that rhino horn does not have healing powers.

The black rhino population in Botswana has twice been wiped out in one century by poachers. More animal action in All Creatures Great And Small (STAR Plus, 3pm), one of those Sunday evening dramas in England that the whole family watched.

Based on the best-selling novels by James Herriot about a vet's life in rural Yorkshire, the screen positively oozes pooey farmyard smells.

But what my family always used to debate was whether Christopher Timothy (Herriot) was really putting his arm up to his elbow into a cow's less-than-welcoming derriere whenever he delivered a calf.

I am told by someone in the know that he did and on one occasion his arm was badly bruised.

Now there's a professional.

Late night films include Force: Five (Pearl, 1.30am), in which a martial-arts squad team up to save a young woman from an evil cult, and Framed (World, 2.45am), with art forger Jeff Goldblum caught up in international intrigue.