By Peter Travers
Updated October 10, 1988 12:00 PM


Okay, the plot doesn’t sound like much: A new college student named Half-Pint can’t decide which clique to join. But hold on, the plot thickens: This is a black college, and Half-Pint must choose between joining airheads or activists. Are we getting serious here? Not quite. The film is a musical comedy. But not a safe one—it bites. Producer-writer-director Spike Lee, who also plays Half-Pint, makes good on the satirical potential he showed in She’s Gotta Have It. Spike, go to the head of the class. (RCA/Columbia)

DUD THRILLER: THE HOUSE ON CARROLL STREET Kelly McGillis uncovers a plot to smuggle Nazis into America. Good 1950’s McCarthy-era detail. But director Peter Yates neglects to goose the plot or wake up the actors. (HBO)

DUD ACTION: RAMBO 3 Sly Stallone muscles up in a new setting, Afghanistan, but it’s the same old story. (IVE)

AN ACTION-THRILLER THAT DOES WORK: SHOOT TO KILL No big deal, but great Canadian scenery, attractive stars (Sidney Poitier, Tom Berenger, Kirstie Alley), go-for-the-jugular direction from Roger (Under Fire) Spottiswoode and a plot that keeps you guessing add up to an above-average time killer. (Touchstone)