Picks and Pans Review: Breaking Point

updated 08/21/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/21/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNT (Fri., Aug. 18, 8 P.M. ET)


This silly outing stars L.A. Law's Corbin Bernsen as an American intelligence officer who gets kidnapped by Nazi officials shortly before D day. Desperate to find out where and when the Allied invasion is to take place, they torture him with electrical shocks in the mouth (they could have saved electricity by just showing him the daily rushes). Since Bernsen won't spill the beans, the Nazis try another diabolical plan. They knock him out and send him to a hospital, which isn't really a hospital but an elaborate facade. When he wakes up, they tell him the war is over and that he has had amnesia for two years. Then they start pumping him about when D day happened. What's a Yank to think?

You can't have a war movie without a dangerous liaison. So while he is recovering from his torture wounds, Bernsen falls in love with his stunningly beautiful nurse, played by Joanna (Gorky Park) Pacula. If war is hell, she looks as if she spent it at Elizabeth Arden. Bernsen can't get over how much she resembles his wife, who, according to the Nazis, is dead. They lie. Of course she looks like his wife! Pacula plays both roles; end of mystery. What makes all this hokum watchable is the extraordinary John Glover, who plays a vicious, manipulating Nazi doctor. Leona Helmsley couldn't play mean more convincingly than Glover, as witnessed by his performances in 52 Pick-Up and two miniseries, Nutcracker and David. Even the simplest line of dialogue, such as "What are you talking about?," has shades of creepy meaning. He's good. Very good.

If the plot seems a little familiar, that's because it's based loosely on the 1964 film 36 Hours, with James Garner and Eva Marie Saint. Peter (Nightbreaker) Markle directed this version, which in the name of verisimilitude includes actual news footage of concentration camp victims.

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