Review: Human Bomb Has Some Spark

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The Movie Channel's Human Bomb gets most of itspower from the performances by Patsy Kensit (as teacher Marcia Weller) and Jurgen Prochnow(Gerhardt, commander of the anti-terrorist force). While this hostage drama has itsmoments, it's not quite as explosive as its title might indicate.

The film opens with newly widowed Marcia and her infant,greeted at the Munich airport in Germany by her mother and stepfather, a wealthybusinessman. We soon notice that their chauffeured car is being followed to their poshsuburban home by a helmeted man on a motorcycle.

After this mysterious figure follows Marcia to her gradeschool and seizes her classroom, we learn he's Ned Lud (aka 'theEcobomber') and that the students' parents are, according to Gerhardt, 'thecream of the foreign business community.'

Lud's face is seen only briefly, which heightens thesense of uncertainty for viewers. Actor Robert Spitz's expressive eyes add a softerside to his ranting terrorist role. And yet his portrayal is at odds with the buildup hischaracter is given: 'a true, cold-blooded killer' of 10 people. At the school,he kills one guinea pig!

Moreover, Marcia convinces Lud to allow the students to bebrought dinner, spiked with a sedative, and to allow her infant to be brought in forbreastfeeding -- but it seems ludicrous that a mother would endanger her baby that way.

In their chats, Lud reveals he'd intended to kidnapMarcia's stepfather, then changed gears at the airport. 'These children of therich are very precious,' he says, and uses them to demand 50 million marks as ransom.

Gerhardt, whose commandos insert a high-tech camera througha wall to monitor Lud, must act swiftly once he learns the authorities have added paper tothe ransom bags. The movie ends abruptly, showing Marcia at her family's estate weekslater, preparing for a medal ceremony as Gerhardt arrives. Although TMC press materialsallude to a Marcia/Gerhardt romance, there is none on-screen. But the producers could haveeasily cut some obvious padding to include it.

Human Bomb will bow on Jan. 24 at 9 p.m.

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