Hollywood Shootout

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9 p.m. Tuesday, June 12
National Geographic


It was about 10 years ago that in the Pantheon of Crazies, Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu were given instant admission and seated at the head of the table. They're the full-body-armored "High Incident Bandits" who robbed the Bank of America branch in North Hollywood and unloaded their AK-47s and other weapons of mass destruction against the piddling peashooters of the LAPD.

It was not nor is not to be forgotten and, because of the brazenness of the bandits, every retelling is an amazement, including this rendition on the National Geographic Channel from Barlow Smithson Prods. The producer-director is Jim Nally, with special credit for Hugh Williams, who must still be a wreck for his high-incident editing.

This is the opener in the channel's "Critical Situation" series; among others are the 1995 Scott Grady F-16 crash in Bosnia, the Apollo 13 rescue, the manhunt for drug czar Pablo Escobar and the legendary hostage rescue at Entebbe.

In addition to sharp work by re-enactors to augment the terrifying drama, the producers used flashes of animation to show how some of these weapons work and some of the guns jammed. There were about 1,100 rounds fired that deadly morning, a bullet every two seconds during the siege.

With all that weaponry and the terrifying noise, you can't help but figure that people who like that stuff and see nothing amiss with the Second Amendment will love this replay and watch and watch and watch with high excitement.

If you want to look at the kinder, gentler side of the matter, nine officers and two civilians were shot and wounded, but those crazy kids were the only fatalities on that loud, busy, frightful day.
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