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T.J. HOOKER PRESSROOM : VARIETY REVIEW - "BLOOD SPORT"


BLOOD SPORT
June 18, 1986
(CBS Wednesday Night Movies)
DAILY VARIETY


William Shatner's back as T. J. Hooker in a shrewd move to capitalize on one of tv's meat-and-potatoes programming formats, the police beat. In new episodes for CBS' latenight programming last fall, Shatner continued his role begun on ABC; he's still a viable cop.

Plot, based on a story by Rudolf Borchert and serviced by a collection of scripters doesn't ignite flames, though it does have its bombing (right off the bat), its fisticuffs (and kickicuffs), bullets and knifings, car crashes and a mystery at the bottom involving politics, terrorism, Japanese gangsters and Oriental intrigue.

Kim Miyori, Henry Darrow and Shatner in "Blood Sport"

Yes "Blood Sport" has vitality and Shatner, who looks huskier but accomplishes what's dictated as Sgt. Hooker, heads from L.A. to Hawaii as a bodyguard for college pal Don Murray, a senator with a wandering eye and a beautiful wife (Kim Myori).

The senator's political savvy enough to grab terrorism as an issue (as are the producers), and he seems to be up for assassination because of it.

Henry Darrow, part of Hawaii Metro Police, has his nose out of joint because Hooker pushes his way into local law enforcement to protect his man. It's not a buddy-buddy disagreement but a true antagonism, something sharper than the usual tv rivalry.

Heather Locklear and James Darren step in well as Hooker's aides Stacy Sheridan and Jim Corrigan; they complement the action with grace under the pressure.

Telefilm introduces a bright young actor, Yuji Okumoto, who plays Howie, an eager Hawaiian policeman dedicated to Hooker. It's a good, too-brief interp. Soon-Tek Oh as a gangster in Honolulu, James Pax as a hired assassin are menacing even if the characters' action are often inept.

While Magnum and McGarrett are scarcely endangered or threatened by Hooker's temporary island duty, character played by Shatner still holds firm as a reliable tv cop. A commercial vidpic, "Blood Sport" looks sharp and skips along fast under Vincent McEveety's brisk direction.

Maybe T.J. Hooker will find himself back in primetime cleaning up the streets and breaking through red tape; those have been his duties for some four years.

 

--Tone.






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