ABC (Mon., Feb. 24, 9 P.M. ET)
Rescue One, this is Red Dog,” snarls James Coburn, playing a National Guard fire chief, into his walkie-talkie, standing by a charred school bus. “Red Dog, go ahead,” barks Richard Thomas, playing a regional disaster-services director, as he sits behind a parked ambulance. “Looks like we’ve got everything under control here. Sure have been a hell of a lot easier if you’d have clued us in on that little explosion you had.” “Too easy, Red Dog. Have to keep you on your toes.” “We had kids out here, man,” snaps an exasperated Coburn. “Get out of my face,” screams Thomas, jumping to his feet. “You know damn well there was no real danger.”
Wow! And this is just a simulated test for the emergency personnel of Sioux City, Iowa. You should see how fired up they get when they’re faced with a real catastrophe.
They get their chance soon enough when a United DC-10 piloted by Charlton Heston loses power and hydraulics en route from Denver to Chicago and is forced to make an emergency landing at Sioux Gateway Airport. This is a feel-good disaster film, focusing on the well-prepared rescue squads who rushed to help the 186 survivors of the 1989 aviation accident this movie dramatizes (see story, page 84).
If the sound of sirens is music to your ears, you’ll enjoy this project, which plays out like a big-budget version of Rescue 911. As drama, it’s soporific.