Picks and Pans Review: Under Siege

updated 02/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

NBC (Sun., Feb. 9, 8 p.m. ET)

D+

Red Dawn asked what would happen if Soviets invaded America. Reactionary claptrap. Hostage Flight asked what if skyjacked passengers fought back. Irresponsible junk. The Right of the People asked what would happen if a town legalized and glamorized guns. Dangerous idiocy. I think I smell a trend. Now Under Siege asks what would happen if apparent Arab terrorists attacked the U.S., bombing an Army base, jets, the Capitol, even boutiques. "When you start bombing stores," a politician raves, "you're hitting the heart of America!" In the middle of this crisis you have Peter (Kane & Abel) Strauss as the FBI chief, the good guy who's tracking down the terrorists and defending truth, justice and the American way. A grounded Superman. You have Hal Holbrook as a president who sounds like a bad campaign commercial: "Maybe the only way to fight terrorism," he says, "is to become terrorists." You have power-thirsty, blood-hungry advisers (E.G. Marshall, Mason Adams) and terrorists who rarely shave, and high-minded newsmen—no surprise, since Bob (All the President's Men) Woodward co-wrote the script. But you don't have credibility. The simulated TV news shows look like none I've seen. And the White House can't be filled with such hysterical bozos as these, no matter which party's in power. As a thriller, Under Siege fails for want of twists in its plot. As propaganda, it fails by making the bad guys, both terrorists and politicians, too unsubtly stupid. Some issues, it seems, are too big for Hollywood to handle.

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