THE INCREDIBLE HULK RETURNS **** U.S.A. 1988 Dir: Nicholas Corea. 100 mins
After the demise of The Incredible Hulk TV show which ran for 5 seasons from 1978 – 1982 it would be another 6 years before the Hulk reared his angry face again. Bill Bixby returns as the man who you don’t want to make angry, Dr. David Bruce Banner. Of course Lou Ferrigno also returns as the Hulk, flexing his way throughout the movie. In this first of three TV movies Banner now known as David Bannion is working at the Joshua-Lambert Research Institute on a Gamma Transponder.
While nobody he works with knows his secret his main goal of working on this project is to use the transponder to cure him of the Hulk for good. As luck would have it, Donald Blake a former student of his recognises him and tells him that he has come into the possession of the hammer of Thor. By using the Hammer he can call on Thor and be in control of his actions. Unfortunately on calling on Thor, the Norse god angers Banner and unleashes the Hulk who has been dormant for two years previously, and destroys the very machine that Banner had hoped would cure him. Also to make matters worse a criminal organisation wants Banner and the transponder and will only return Banner’s girlfriend if he does what they say. Banner teams up with Blake in an effort to save Banner’s girlfriend but it is the combined efforts of Hulk and Thor who will save the day. This TV movie was a staple of Saturday afternoon television for many years and is the one out of the 3 TV movies that got shown the most. THE INCREDIBLE HULK RETURNS is notable for being the final performance of Jack Colvin as the tabloid reporter Jack McGee who was often chasing after the truth from Banner about his angry side. The original intention was for this TV movie to be seen as a pilot episode for a proposed THOR TV series, that never happened. If this series did happen who knows where the Hulk and Thor would have ended up. What viewers loved of the TV series they got plenty of in this TV movie and more. For its time this TV movie was a ratings success so it was no surprise that the Hulk would return for a second time in the 1989 TV movie THE TRIAL OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
Review by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins