Movie: (1978) On the run, David Banner helps people while he searches for a cure for his condition—turning into the Incredible Hulk! In this (third) episode of the series, Banner befriends an aspiring boxer who unwittingly delivers drugs for the shady gym owner. When the boxer is set up to be killed in the ring, the Hulk must rescue him.
First released: 05/12/2008 (VOD)
Availability: Download VOD from Rifftrax only.
Reminds me of: Master Ninja, maybe a bit of The Indestructible Man.
This was a lot of fun. Looking at the list of Season 1 Hulk episodes is like looking at a list of every 70’s TV/movie cliché, and this one homages Rocky so strongly that the main character is nicknamed “Rocky”! I still wonder why this particular episode was chosen—on other TV shows like Heroes or Gray’s Anatomy they used the first two episodes, and from the look of it they could riff this whole season. Don’t I wish!
There are lots of riffs about Karate Kid, the original Rocky, how old the street gang is (“this was before street toughs had to be, you know, tough”), how dumb the main character is, and the subtle homoerotic quality of Rocky and David’s relationship.
Cast and crew roundup: Bill Bixby had been on several TV shows already (“Magician… Eddie’s Father… nephew to a Martian”). He moved from acting to directing and passed, relatively young, in 1993. Martin Kove (Rocky) has had an amazingly long career, and still has several projects in pre-production today. He was a frequent guest in 70’s Universal TV productions, from a one-shot on Charlies’ Angels to a costarring role in Cagney and Lacey. He is still best remembered as the evil dojo leader from Karate Kid. John Witherspoon (Tom) and Al Ruscio (Mr. Sariego) have also been around forever; Fran Myers (Mary) went on to write for several soap operas.
Fave riff: “Guy’s nuttier than squirrel poop.” Honorable mention: “He’s in severe danger of being called a ‘turkey’!”
Next week: Cinematic Titanic goes unplugged when “East meets Watts”!