The Death of the Incredible Hulk
|The Death of the Incredible Hulk|
|Directed by||Bill Bixby|
|Produced by||Bill Bixby (executive)
|Written by||Gerald Di Pego|
|Music by||Lance Rubin|
|Editing by||Janet Ashikaga|
|Production company||B & B Productions
New World Television
|Original airing||February 18, 1990|
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Preceded by||The Trial of the Incredible Hulk|
The Death of the Incredible Hulk is a 1990 made-for-television film, the last of three revival TV movies from the 1978–1982 television show The Incredible Hulk. Bill Bixby reprises his role as Dr. David Bruce Banner and Lou Ferrigno returns to play the Hulk. Prior to Bill Bixby's death in 1993, there was talk of another Incredible Hulk television movie which would resurrect the character.
David Banner masquerades as David Bellamy, a mentally challenged janitor, to gain access to a scientific research facility. He believes that the studies of one of the scientists there, Dr. Ronald Pratt (Philip Sterling), may hold the key to curing his gamma-induced condition that, in times of stress, turns him into a superhuman green creature known as the Hulk. Pratt takes a liking to the man he sees only as a building custodian.
One night after making a transaction at the bank, David is trapped by street thieves and is beaten and robbed. The stress of his injuries induces another transformation. The Hulk makes short work of the criminals but attracts the attention of authorities before escaping.
The next day, bypassing security, Banner enters Pratt's laboratory and examines the formula on his blackboard, making corrections and filling in gaps. At the same time, a beautiful Russian spy named Jasmin (Elizabeth Gracen), thinking she has completed her last act of espionage, is approached again by former superior Kasha for one last job: infiltrate Pratt's lab and steal the files on his experiments. When she refuses, Kasha blackmails Jasmin with her sister Bella's life. Jasmin then disguises herself as a club hopper and gets a fingerprint from one of the security guards.
The following morning, Pratt examines the formula on his blackboard and discovers that it is now correct. Determined to find out who is guiding him, he hides out in the lab in wait for his would-be mentor. This time he catches David in the act and asks him to tell him something that would keep him from sounding the security alarm. Banner reveals his true identity and goes over the events that led to his self-experimentation that resulted in the Hulk. He notes that his condition also dives into Pratt's own research on a human's capacity to heal, for in Hulk-form David's accelerated metabolism allows any wound to close in seconds, leaving him with hardly a scar. Pratt believes he can cure David, but he needs to first study the creature. Over the course of a week, both scientists, with the help of Pratt's wife, Amy (also a scientist), construct a force field cage and sensors to track Banner's vitals. On the night of the observation, David is rigged with a tranquilizer to sedate him once the readings have been recorded. Banner shocks himself with an electrical rod and Hulks-out. The energy cage holds the creature back until Pratt has his readings and Amy activates the tranquilizer. Banner reverts to normal and Pratt and Amy photograph the closing puncture wound from the tranquilizer. Banner later watches the video of his transformation – claiming it is the first time he has seen the Hulk – and fails to see any humanity in him despite Amy's beliefs.
The next day, the facility's board announces to Pratt that they are pulling his funding for his lack of results, which forces him to move up his proposed cure for David. An eastern European spy network dedicated to using Pratt's (and Banner's) work for corrupt purposes breaks into the lab, halting the experiment and kidnapping Pratt and Amy. Banner has fallen in love with Jasmin, who returns his affections, and with her help, he helps the Pratts. While pursuing the kidnappers, Banner and Jasmin learn that her sister, Bella, is the true leader of the spy network, and Banner turns into the Hulk, who tries to protect Pratt and Jasmin. The Hulk runs towards the plane, on which Bella and Kasha are attempting to escape, and breaks it open. He climbs aboard before it can take off, enters and stops the two spies. But the plane explodes and the Hulk is thrown into the night, falling onto the concrete. After the return transformation, Banner dies, telling Jasmin he is free.
This third post-Hulk-series telefilm was initially announced to feature the Marvel Comics character She-Hulk, just as the previous two had featured Thor and Daredevil. As of early July 1989, it was still firmly expected to do so, and to air that autumn, with Iron Man under consideration for a follow-up.
Despite the Hulk's death in the 1990 film, the movie's makers had intended from the start for him to return in The Revenge of the Incredible Hulk, in which he would be revived in a state in which the Hulk had Banner's mind. As of July 10, 1990, a script was being written. However, the project was canceled when Bill Bixby's health declined. He died of cancer in November 1993.
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