Driving Miss Daisy – The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk – tape 1319

Now then. Driving Miss Daisy. Morgan Freeman drives racist Jessica Tandy around. It won the Academy Award that year. That’s all I know about this film, and at least one of those statements might not be true, as I’ve never watched it.

Jessica Tandy drives her car into her neighbour’s yard, so her son Dan Aykroyd tells her she can’t drive any more.

Dan Aykroyd

Against her wishes, he hires the talkative Morgan Freeman to drive for her. She doesn’t want him there. And when she finally does relent a let him drive her to the store, she’s the worst sort of back seat driver.

This film has a very odd score, from current king of the blockbusters Hans Zimmer, although this is more like when he composed the theme tune to Going For Gold.

Now, this isn’t a bad film by any means, but is it really the best film of the year?

After this, recording continues, and after a few trails and adverts, there’s a brief ‘Oscar Nomination’ segment about Robin Williams for the Fisher King, featuring interviews with Williams and Terry Gilliam.

Then, strangely, recording switches to Long Play just before the start of the next movie. I guess I was worried about running out of space.

The next movie is Trial of the Incredible Hulk. From when Marvel was something less than the cinematic powerhouse it is today.

This is a TV Movie sequel to the popular Incredible Hulk series from the 70s. Bill Bixby is still there, playing an older, beardier David Banner (Bruce wasn’t considered an acceptable name for television in the 70s). He’s working on a team digging a hole, and another of the workers seems to think it’s OK to push him into a river for a joke. Naturally, Banner can’t let go with his feelings.

Bill Bixby

He heads out towards the city, allowing the soundtrack to play the plaintive piano melody that was so familiar from the TV series. Then we’re introduced to another character, Rex Smith as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer who just loves looking out of windows.

Rex Smith

A gang of thieves rob a jeweller’s under the direction of John Rhys Davies. Comics readers (or, these days, watchers of Netflix) will realise he’s Wilson Fisk, aka The Kingpin.

John Rhys Davies

While travelling on the subway, a fellow passenger, Ellie Mendez, is menaced by a couple of thugs, and when Banner tries to stop them, they rough him up, causing him to get angry.

The Incredible Hulk

Rather mysteriously, Banner’s beard seems to disappear when he becomes the Hulk. During his hulk-out, one of the men hits the woman in the face with a gun, and shoots another passenger. When the dust settles, and Banner has reverted to his Bixby form, the police pick him up, and want to pin the murder and injury on him, since the two thugs are long gone.

Matt Murdock is assigned to be his attorney. He tells Banner that Mendez is claiming it was Banner who attacked her, and later, when Murdock interviews her, her nurse is definitely acting shifty, and talking to Fisk’s men. Fisk orders Mendez killed, so the nurse goes equipped with that most deadly of 90s murder weapons, the syringe full of air. Luckily, Daredevil is on hand to stop her nefarious plot by failing to subdue her in any way, then using his stick to trip her up and make her fall into a very badly constructed medical machine which collapses under her weight and electrocutes her.

Daredevil versus a Nurse

Banner almost gets shivved in his cell – I wonder if that would actually kill him? The police chief grills him for information about the case, but Banner can’t tell him anything. And then Fisk kidnaps Ellie Mendez, as bait for Daredevil.

Murdock and his assistant beg Banner to testify, but he tells them he must avoid conflict at all cost – cut to a courtroom, with everyone, prosecution and defence, shouting exaggeratedly at Banner until, naturally, he hulks out and trashes the place. And that’s either a Stan Lee cameo, or a very good lookalike.

Stan Lee on the jury

This long sequence – which also incorporated an advert break – was, of course, a dream sequence, and therefore almost entirely pointless, except that, when he wakes from his nightmare, he hulks out and escapes from the prison.

Daredevil goes on the hunt for Banner – the show spares no expense in utilising the most cutting edge special effects to visualise Daredevil’s Radar Senses. Try to remember that this was fully ten years before the Matrix. Remarkable.

Radar Senses

He tracks Banner down, and to convince him to come with him, he shows him his face. Daredevil is Matt Murdock!

Daredevil is Matt Murdock

Murdock gets a message from the police chief that Mendez is being held in ‘The Web’, an abandoned movie studio, so Daredevil heads out to rescue her, But the chief learns this information was false, and it’s a trap. If only they could have worked that out from the name of the location.

Somehow, the Kingpin has worked out that loud noise distracts Daredevil, so he’s taking a bit of a beating, but Banner, having been told it’s a set up, goes to help. Enough to stop them beating the crap out of Daredevil, but not enough to stop Kingpin’s men escaping with Ellie Mendez despite her being literally three feet away from him.

After a pep-talk and some actual doctoring from Dr Banner, Daredevil gets his mojo back, so the two of them go and try to rescue Ellie again. Daredevil uses a zipline to get onto Fisk’s building, zipping past the moon in the best special effect of the whole movie.

Daredevil moon

Daredevil goes for Fisk while Banner goes to find Ellie – one of Fisk’s men has fallen in love with her (which at least explains why she’s not already dead) but another one is forcing him to kill her now. During all of these scenes, all Ellie is required to do is wear some floaty nightdress and dressing gown and look threatened. She has done literally nothing in this entire film except be harrassed, kidnapped, attacked, almost killed, held hostage, and used as bait. These were not good times for women in films.

Ellie Mendez

Kingpin has a high-end home cinema set up – check out that Barco projector.

Kingpin and Barco

That’s not the only technology at his disposal. Look at the amazing flying whatever the hell this is, which he uses to escape from Daredevil.

Kingpin's flying thingy

This flies past Daredevil so incredibly slowly that it’s hard to understand why he doesn’t jump on top and pull Fisk or his henchman from their seats, but instead he lets him escape. Eyes on the sequel, I guess.

By the way, is it just me, or does Rhys Davies bear a striking resemblance to videogame reviewer Jim Sterling?

The Kingpin

This was woeful. Clearly their budget was non-existent, but even the fight scenes were cramped and unconvincing. And ten years later, shows like Buffy would be churning out kinetic, exciting fight scenes every week, probably on even less money than this cost.

Don’t waste your time. Stick to Netflix.

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2 comments

  1. “This film has a very odd score, from current king of the blockbusters Hans Zimmer, although this is more like when he composed the theme tune to Going For Gold.”

    i’d rather listen to this or anything else from late-1980s African period (“Rain Man,” etc) than his current stuff.

    It’s strange from the Hulk also keeps changing companies – Universal made the live-action show but this TV movie and the other ones where from New World when they owned Marvel. (I hate to think what their version of “The Avengers” would have been like.)

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