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Summer Movie Preview: Reheated Hits

‘Ghostbusters II,’ ‘The Karate Kid, Part III,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 2,’ ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’

Lethal Weapon 2

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in 'Lethal Weapon 2.'

Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (May). Steven Spielberg’s third chapter in the Indy saga, with Harrison Ford back as our hero and Sean Connery turning up as his bookworm father, starts the summer off with a roar. Even though the appearance of River Phoenix as a teen Indy cries sequel, executive producer Frank Marshall says “a gentlemen’s agreement” was cut at the start to stop at three. Ford seems less certain: “Sean Connery taught me to never say never again.”

Ghostbusters II (June). With Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and the rest of those spirit flushers again on deck, it’s hard to see how the sequel to the most successful movie comedy ever ($220 million) could miss. But director Ivan Reitman frets that “it’s harder to surprise people the second time.” I was surprised when Reitman spoke of the film’s “metaphorical level.” Says Reitman, “I don’t want to sound pretentious, but the film is comforting to young people dealing with the unknown.” Fearing the worst for the film’s enjoyably silly level, I asked, “But people still get slimed, don’t they?” Not to worry. “There’s lots and lots of slime,” says Reitman.

Lethal Weapon 2 (July). Danny Glover, reteaming with his 1987 partner in crime stopping, Mel Gibson, says it’s “the camaraderie between me and Mel that people connect to, not just the action.” They’re still playing cops — Glover the family man, Gibson the trigger-happy widower. But they’ve gotten to know each other better. “Now they’re like husband and wife,” says Glover, “they get on each other’s nerves.”

The Karate Kid, Part III (June). Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) warns his prize pupil, Daniel (Ralph Macchio): “Karate is used to defend honor; then karate means something. Karate is used to defend plastic and trophies; then karate means nothing.” What I want to know is Miyagi’s position on using karate to defend box office.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (June). Don’t look to William Shatner (Captain Kirk) to give away the plot, except to say that it “involves a search for something all people are searching for.” No, it’s not a cheap apartment. Insiders hint it’s a quest for God. Shatner, who came up with the story, is also making his debut as a director. Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) helmed the last two, now it’s Shatner’s turn. “What Len gets, I get; it’s contractual,” explains Shatner. Trekkies shouldn’t faint over that Final in the title. “No, no,” says Shatner, “it’s just a good word, that’s all.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 (August). Robert Englund returns as demonic Freddy Krueger, and Englund is pleased that the slasher series is “moving toward more imaginative effects and less hard-core gore.” Relaxed in his role (“I own the guy now”), Englund finds fun devising lines that mock middle-class fads. “Fourteen-year-old kids wind up repeating those lines,” he says. Be first on your block to quote this one: While stuffing lethal amounts of food down the throat of a diet-conscious model, Freddy quips, “Bon appetit, bitch.”

License to Kill (July). Call it James Bond 16. This is Timothy Dalton’s second shot at playing 007. His debut two years ago in The Living Daylights hit big, so he’s giving it another go. Dalton says he never sought tips from predecessors Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Instead, he went back to the Ian Fleming books. “Fleming thought Bond should be quiet, taciturn and ruthless,” says Dalton. Talisa Soto and Carey Lowell are the new Bond girls, but Dalton bristles at the term. “They are leading ladies, not bimbos,” he says. Ever the proper gent, Dalton recently sought and won libel damages from a British newspaper that alleged he behaved rudely toward Bond producer Cubby Broccoli. Dalton asserts that even his female fans show proper decorum. “They recognize me, nod or say, ‘Carry on.'”


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