Costner looks for a way out

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 October, 1993, 12:00am

KEVIN Costner was just on the brink of mega-stardom when No Way Out was released in 1986. He'd just drawn major interest playing Elliot Ness in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, and his portrayals of Lieutenant Farrell in No Way Out and ageing baseball player Crash Davis in Ron Shelton's Bull Durham would establish him as the romantic lead of the 1980s.

And in No Way Out (World, 9.30pm, Original Running Time 114 mins) it's easy to see why. It's been on before but the movie has enough twists and turns to make a second viewing fun, even necessary. Under Roger Donaldson's direction, this remake of John Farrow's 1947 movie The Big Clock is a gripping drama of death and duplicity in the Pentagon.

Sean Young proves that she could act once - though her diabolical performance in A Kiss Before Dying would seem to belie the fact - playing the tantalisingly sexy mistress of Defence Secretary Brice (Gene Hackman).

When she's killed, Hackman calls in young navy officer Costner, ostensibly to find her murderer without stirring up any headlines. The problem is that Hackman accidentally did the deed himself, but is trying to frame Young's unknown other lover. And the problem with that is, Costner's the other lover.

Consequently, Costner's mission becomes a mire of bluffs and double bluffs as he tries to find a way to link the crime to Hackman without the man discovering his own part in the affair.

Confusing yes, but it's edge-of-your-seat drama with strong performances from all three leads, as well as Will Patton playing Hackman's henchman.

The only grouch about the movie is that the censors here always cut Costner and Young's steamy scene in the limo. Sexy yes, but done with humour, and without offence. Why not surprise us and leave the scene in? AS for Marked For Death (Pearl, 9.30pm, ORT 94 mins), it should have been. It's another brainless Steven (Above The Law ) Seagal vehicle in which the Akido expert plays an ex-drug agent taking on Jamaican dope pushers who want to wipe him out. Sounds reasonable.

THE Asia World Cup Qualifying soccer tournament gets underway today in Qatar. Japan, North and South Korea, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia will play a two-week round-robin competition to claim the last two berths for World Cup 94.

Brian Langley introduces live coverage of all the matches, starting with North Korea v Iraq (Prime Sports, 9pm) and Saudi Arabia v Japan (11.15pm).

BARRY Norman will review Ken Loach's latest work Raining Stones about a northern British working-class family in Film '93 (BBC, 9.25pm). He'll also look at John Woo's violent actioner Hard Boiled, and Young Americans, the first feature from young British director Danny Cannon, which stars Harvey Keitel.

Finally, Norman's secured a rare interview with veteran actress Maggie Smith who became the creme de la creme of the Oscars in 1969 for her title role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and has just completed a new screen version of The Secret Garden.