Picks and Pans Review: The Forgotten

updated 05/01/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/01/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

USA (Wed., April 26, 9 P.M. ET)


The way TV is headed, it won't be long before the Home Shopping Network starts making movies of the week. Everybody else is—ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, Showtime, Disney, TNT and now USA. But there isn't enough talent to go around in TV land, so the new guy on the block usually gets the leftovers, the movies nobody else wanted. Here is a movie even the Weather Channel wouldn't want. The Forgotten is simpleminded, xenophobic, clumsy and just plain bad. Keith Carradine (the show's co-executive producer) stars as the leader of a bunch of American POWs in Vietnam who are set free after 17 years in prison. Stacy Keach (the brother of the flick's director/co-writer, James Keach) also stars, playing a tough Pentagon man in charge of questioning the prisoners. "Are there many of our people still in Vietnam?" an officer asks Carradine. He replies with stony seriousness: "They're there." But why should we believe that? Nothing else in the movie has the slightest credibility. As soon as these men are set free by Vietnam, they are locked up in Germany and forbidden to call their families—but that doesn't bother them. Except for one guy who forgets how to use a fork, they seem little the worse for wear. These characters are created to be nothing more than excuses for a string of flashback scenes—so we can watch the evil Vietnamese enemy (they are still the enemy...aren't they?) sticking bamboo under the fingernails of our boys and indulging in other criminal war-movie clichés. A plot? Oh yeah, somebody did try to throw one in at the last minute, but it's inconsequential enough to be explained away in one short speech. I suppose it's nice that USA is trying to be a real network (this is just the first of 24 movies USA is making), but until better material can be found, I suggest sticking to Riptide reruns.

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