Hi-tech tinman on the beat

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 August, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 August, 1993, 12:00am

PAUL Verhoeven's futuristic shocker Robocop (Pearl 9.30pm, Original Running Time 103 mins) is an appallingly entertaining cross between a comic strip and a snuff movie.

Violent from start to finish, the film is set in Detroit of the future, where the crime rate's out of control and 31 cops have been rubbed out since Omni-Consumer Products took over the police department. Despite the danger, officer Murphy (Peter Weller) and partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) gamely pursue a gang of bank robbers into a derelict steel mill, where the bad guys trap Weller and use him for target practice.

This is quite convenient because those ruthless capitalists at OCP have been looking for a cadaver to wire together and turn into Robocop - 95 per cent reinforced high technology, five per cent man.

He's indestructible, and he's certainly a bigger success than their first enforcement droid Ed 209, a beast of a machine who shortcircuited at his unveiling and put a quick end to one OCP executive's career plans. Verhoeven (Total Recall ) moves his satirical story along at breakneck speed.

JACK Lemmon is always worth watching, and though Mass Appeal (Pearl 12.20pm, ORT 100 mins) is not one of his most memorable, it's a pleasant enough way to spend an afternoon.

Lemmon plays Father Farley, the popular pastor of a large and affluent parish, beloved for his lively sermons. His complacency takes a bashing however, with the arrival of feisty seminarian intern Mark Dolson (Zeljko Ivanek) who's afire with religious zeal.

N!XAU is trotted out again for another re-run of The Gods Must be Crazy (World 9.30pm) an African throwback to the days of slapstick silent comedy which became a massive international hit in the mid-80s for its ''disarming charm''.

It all begins when a Coke bottle drops out of the sky into the Botswana bush and sows the seeds of discontent in a previously happy tribe. In his efforts to rid the tribe of the bottle, N!Xau encounters civilisation for the first time.

ON the sports front, there's cricket and golf to be enjoyed live, as well as a league preview to mark the start of the English soccer season.

The third one-day cricket international between Sri Lanka and India will be broadcast live (Prime Sports 11.45am) from Colombo.

Highlights of yesterday's action at the US PGA Championship (Prime Sports 9.30pm) will serve as a lead in to live coverage from midnight of today's competition.

English Soccer (Pearl 6.55pm) is likely to start with a preview of last season and a look at the state of play in the Premier League.

Soccer fans spent much of last season complaining about the late night Monday time-slot for this programme. Presumably this is what prompted Pearl to move it to this new Saturday evening spot. Sorry Pearl, but the complaints are likely to continue since now the matches will be a week old.