Picks and Pans Review: Sword of Gideon

updated 12/01/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/01/1986 01:00AM

HBO (Sat., Nov. 29, 8 p.m. ET)

B-

After the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, a (fictional) band of agents is dispatched by Rod Steiger as a military pawnbroker and Colleen Dewhurst as Golda Meir to assassinate 11 Arab terrorists in Europe. The antiterrorists, led by Steven (Scarface) Bauer, do their work efficiently, but after setting off enough bombs and bullets they begin to feel like terrorists themselves. That's a fascinating moral quandary, which is handled well at times but then lost amid a sea of platitudes. "Jews...Who are we?" Golda asks. "Remember this day. You may be stepping into the history books." "An eye for an eye," Rod growls. Though Gideon starts with a good idea, it suffers from writing and direction that make it look clumsy, old-fashioned and sophomorically serious.

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