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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television - Ed­die Cock­rell

Star Wars: Episode V — The Em­pire Strikes Back (PG) Satur­day, 7pm, Seven Scan­ners (MA15+) Wed­nes­day, 10.25pm, SBS Two Full Me­tal Jacket (MA15+) Thurs­day, 9.35pm, SBS

The best film to date in the Star Wars fran­chise is un­doubt­edly the sec­ond chrono­log­i­cal movie to be re­leased, in 1980, now ti­tled Star Wars: Episode V — The Em­pire Strikes Back (Satur­day, 7pm, Seven).

Leg­end has it di­rec­tor Ge­orge Lu­cas had to mort­gage his house to calm the ner­vous stu­dio, de­spite the ga­lac­tic-sized suc­cess of the first film in the fran­chise. In any event, this re­mains to date the most emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing work in the se­ries, and the ac­tion set pieces are more or­ganic and ex­cit­ing than sub­se­quent en­tries.

The movie world is still smart­ing from the loss of Stan­ley Kubrick, who made films with a metic­u­lous pre­ci­sion rare in cin­ema to­day; noth­ing else looks or feels like a Kubrick film.

This is par­tic­u­larly true with his 1987 Viet­nam war opus Full Me­tal Jacket (Thurs­day, 9.35pm, SBS). The first half fol­lows the doomed Pri­vate Pyle (Vin­cent D’Onofrio) through ba­sic train­ing, while the sec­ond half re-cre­ates a ru­ined Viet­namese city on an English back-lot to fol­low Pri­vate “Joker” (Matthew Mo­dine) and his squad as they try to fer­ret out a sniper. Ev­ery­body knows war is hell, but here Kubrick in­vites the viewer to ac­tu­ally visit the place.

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Ro­driguez would each di­rect a genre fea­ture and they’d be re­leased to­gether to sim­u­late the “grind­house” ex­pe­ri­ence of the 1970s. Prob­lem was, they both made longer films than an­tic­i­pated, so the 2007 re­lease be­came as much of an en­durance test as a genre trib­ute. Ro­driguez’s film, Planet Ter­ror (Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, SBS Two), is an in­ven­tive, tongue-in-cheek zombie movie, while Tarantino’s

Death Proof (Mon­day, 8.30pm, SBS Two) is a more la­bo­ri­ous slasher movie with Kurt Rus­sell that fea­tures a ter­rific ex­tended car chase.

Af­ter the ab­surd cabaret of Moon­raker, the James Bond brains trust de­cided to go back to the char­ac­ter’s roots and em­pha­sis plau­si­ble ac­tion over space shenani­gans. For Your Eyes

Only (Satur­day, 9.15pm; WA, 7pm, Nine) re­mains one of the bet­ter of the seven films in which Roger Moore es­sayed the suave spy from 1973 to 1985. This is the one where Bond and Melina Have­lock (Ca­role Bou­quet) re­trieve a vi­tal Bri­tish trans­mit­ter from a sunken ship.

Credit leg­endary Hol­ly­wood make-up artist Dick Smith with cre­at­ing the no­to­ri­ous ex­plod­ing head shot in writer-di­rec­tor David Cro­nen­berg’s 1981 hor­ror film Scan­ners (Wed­nes­day, 10.25pm, SBS Two). Tem­po­rar­ily jet­ti­son­ing the psy­cho­sex­ual un­der­cur­rents of his pre­vi­ous work, Cro­nen­berg fo­cuses on the thriller side of things in the story of cor­po­rate es­pi­onage in­volv­ing peo­ple with the ti­tle tal­ent of read­ing minds. On the strength of that stunt, Scan­ners brought him the box of­fice suc­cess he’d been search­ing for and ramped up his ca­reer sig­nif­i­cantly.

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