Two faces of Mickey

Teri Fitsell

AS usual Friday night's viewing is nothing if not varied - although that variation refers to both quality and content.

Johnny Handsome (World 9.30pm, Original Running Time 94 minutes) is an odd film in which Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart) plays a hideously deformed habitual criminal, given the chance to start afresh when a prison surgeon performs cosmetic surgery.

Handsome happens to be in prison at the time, after being double-crossed in a robbery in which his best friend was killed and for which he was framed.

The film asks whether he would be a different person if he had a normal face, and this is put to the test when he infiltrates the gang who betrayed him - and who now can't recognise him. Will he hand them over to the police, or take his own revenge? A strong cast, which includes Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love), Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy) and Elizabeth McGovern (Ragtime), helps maintain interest, though subtitles would be useful for the first half of the film to understand Rourke's authentic cleft-palate speech.

WORLD'S Mandarin movie is the multi award-winning Hibiscus Town (11.35pm, ORT 114 mins), one of the first mainland Chinese movies to look at the dark side of the Cultural Revolution.

The grim story centres on Hue Yueyin (Liu Xiaoqing) a beancurd seller accused of being a rich peasant during the Four Clean-ups of 1964. The accusation drives her husband to suicide and she is forced to sweep the streets.

Eventually she falls in love again, but it transpires that happiness is very hard to come by.

The film is beautifully photographed, the emotional content searing. Hard work, but well worth the trouble.

SAME-DAY coverage starts today of highlights of the Johnnie Walker Asian Golf Classic (Prime Sports, 10pm) being played at the Singapore Island Country Club.

The tournament is actually the third leg of the European tour (believe it or not). The first leg was in Madeira, followed by the Dubai Desert Classic.

Some of the top names in golf are there, including world number one Nick Faldo, number two Fred Couples, and number three Ian Woosnam.

Seve Ballesteros (12th in the world) is also playing and will be coming here for the Hongkong Open afterwards.

ONE of many Gremlins rip-offs, Critters (Pearl 9.45pm, ORT 86 mins) is just about saved by a healthily sarcastic script. The Critters are aliens, badly in need of some dental work, who've escaped from an extra-terrestrial jail and fallen to earth in small-town Kansas. These creatures are out to eat Farmer Brown and his family - they've already consumed the Brown's goldfish - but they too are being chased by inter-galactic bounty hunters.

KEITH Haring's deceptively simple pop art comes under scrutiny in Drawing the Line (STAR Plus, 7.30pm). Haring, who inherited and built on Andy Warhol's work, used his art to comment on issues of the 80s such as safe sex, drugs and peace.

BY the way, did anyone spot the glaring omission at the 50th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Pearl, on Wednesday? Neither Al Pacino nor Emma Thompson, best actor and best actress winners respectively, were shown receiving their awards. Apparently TVB programmers were as surprised as the rest of us, since the tape arrived from the distributors minus Pacino and Thompson.