The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990, directed by Bill Bixby)

David Banner (Bill Bixby), still hoping to find a cure for the condition that causes him to turn into the Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) whenever he gets injured or stressed out, heads up to Portland.  Pretending to be a simple-minded janitor named David Bellamy, Banner gets a job working in the lab of Dr. Ronald Pratt (Philip Sterling).  Banner hopes that Dr. Pratt’s research holds the secret that can release him from being the Hulk.  When Dr. Pratt learns Banner’s secret, he and his wife (Barbara Tarbock) work with Banner to try to cure him and to understand the Hulk.

David Banner is not the only person who has infiltrated the lab.  KGB agent Jasmin (Elizabeth Gracen) has also been sent to the lab with orders to steal Pratt’s research.  Jasmin hates working for the KGB but she’s been told that her sister will be killed unless she complete one final mission.  When Jasmin meets and falls in love with David, she starts to reconsider her loyalties.  When the KGB finally makes their movies, Jasmin is going to have to decide who to help and the Hulk is going to have to come through and save the day one final time.

David Banner’s saga finally comes to a close in The Death of the Incredible Hulk, the third and last of the Incredible Hulk television movies.  It’s also the best of the three, though that might not by saying much when you consider the quality of the first two.  While the other two movies both served as backdoor pilots for other heroes and the Hulk was barely even present in the 2nd movie, The Death of the Incredible Hulk keeps the focus squarely on David Banner and the Hulk.  (Though Jasmin does seem like she could be a version of the Black Widow, I think the similarities between the two characters are a coincidence.  Beautiful and conflicted KGB agents were a popular trope in the 80s and early 90s.)  Both Bixby and Ferrigno get to show off what they can do in their signature roles.  Bixby is especially good at capturing Banner’s tortured and lonely existence and his performance helps to make The Death of the Incredible Hulk something more than just another cheap sci-fi TV movie.

Though the film stays true to its title and ends with a mortally wounded Banner saying that he’s finally free, it was not intended to be the final Hulk film.  There were plans to bring David Banner back to life and presumably, the Hulk would have come back with him.  Unfortunately, Bill Bixby himself died in 1993, before shooting could begin on The Return of the Incredible Hulk.


One response to “The Death of the Incredible Hulk (1990, directed by Bill Bixby)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 10/5/20 — 10/11/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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