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In reality the 'second season' (or retooling) of the David McCallum
"Invisible Man" series, "Gemini Man" has a lot to recommend it. While
falling to the faults of the invisible man genre like having too many
point-of-view shots and sometimes unconvincing fighting scenes, the show
itself is played straight is quite action packed. Not so deep, but good fun
Sadly, most people's first exposure to this show will be MST3K's version of "Running with Death," which is a badly edited movie version of two episodes. But don't really make your mind up until you see the episodic version itself: the 'Minotaur' episode alone is worth the hour you will spend watching.
So keep an eye out for the Sci-Fi Schedulebot to see when this comes on again. Enjoy!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Basically this is a cheap and cheerful rip-off of The TV version of
David McCallum's Invisible Man.
Gemini Man (why Gemini? it normally represents twins or space travel, neither of which apply here) was quite clearly made as a pilot episode for a series that was never made or never got shown here in the UK.
Set clearly during The Cold War and the 1970's, this starts with a satellite crashing to Earth and a race between The Russians & Americans to retrieve it. And a third party wishing to destroy it, the identity of this third party is never really clearly established or their reasons to want to destroy this probe or whatever it is.
Anyway, our hero Sam gets caught on the ocean floor when the probe is blown up by a planted mine (planted by the third party who wanted to destroy the mine) and exposed to a massive dose of radiation (which would have killed him) but by a freak accident he turns invisible.
He then is given a watch that enables him to turn visible & invisible at will for no more than 15 minutes at a time. He decides he wants to find out who planted the mine and uses his invisibility to do that.
It's an extremely weak plot with massive holes in it and not a great deal of story or character development.
It's an example of late 70's TV and how bad it truly could be, that's almost certainly the main reason why it never made it to full series status. I'd seen it before and it wasn't any better this time around.
Sam Casey's digital watch had an LCD display at a time when red LED
were commonplace. That was cool.
I loved this show but even as a kid I had trouble believing the central conceit that Sam had exactly 15 minutes of invisibility per calendar day. Apparently, he could go 30 minutes straight if he started at 11:45 PM, because he got a new 15 minute allocation every day apparently irregardless of how much or when he last used his invisibility. He was physically fine while invisible for 14 minutes and 59 seconds, and then SUDDENLY he became incapacitated.
Would have been much more believable if he ACCRUED time at 15 minutes per 24 hours, and the watch kept track of his balance. Seems like a forced gimmick otherwise. Or how about the watch has a charge that can keep him invisible 15 minutes, but it needs to be recharged after that? Ah, who cares....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bad acting, dumb plots but kind of fun way to remember the 70s- tight
bell bottom slacks, flowery shirts, butterfly collars, feathered hair,
boots, Citizens Band Radios, "turkey," VW Beetles and race cars! Oh,
and check out the "impressive" computer that is used to run the secret
spy agency Casey works for-- spools, blinking lights-- you almost
expect someone to slam a data cassette into the side of the thing..
Forget plot for either "story" in this two-part film: You'll have more fun scratching your head at the weird inconsistencies. For one, Casey is warned to get the trypolodene to the Government lab "before it closes at five"-- so the Government lab cant stay open to receive a vital, top-secret fuel additive? For another, the second segment is set up in the first, with the hokey trucker repeatedly telling Sam that he's going to quit trucking to "race cars in Ontario." But when we run into the trucker in the second episode, they are clearly somewhere in the South..
The best way to watch this film is to find the Mystery Science Theatre version- it's a riot!
The acting is forgettable to say the least.
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