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"The Incredible Hulk" Sanctuary (1981)

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Holy Hulk

Author: Chris. from Australia
12 January 2012

David (Bixby) is working as a handyman in an Hispanic town's church enclave, surrounded by the violent exploits of the local crime boss Patrero (Darrow), co-existing with the town's spiritual leader (Muldaur) under mutual sufferance. When one of Patrero's victims seeks sanctuary in the church, Patrero attempts to coerce the stubborn Mother Superior into releasing him into his custody, under the pretense of escorting him to the town's hospital, which is effectively owned by Patrero. Refusing to budge, she instead persuades David to impersonate a visiting Priest in the hope of stalling the abduction until they can get the wounded man to a neutral hospital.

Reputable cast features Diana Muldaur (perhaps best known for "Star Trek: Next Generation" and "LA Law") as the feisty abbess, comedienne Edie McClurg as her junior Sister, ubiquitous Latin leading man Henry Darrow as the corrupt crime-lord, and Jerry Hardin as the town's henpecked law enforcer, content to let Patrero rule the roost in return for kickbacks.

Big Lou hurling a cherub at Patrero's son is a moment of irreverence to savour, while the animosity displayed between Muldaur and Darrow's characters is terse and effective. Bixby's turn as the prophet (there's even a sermon on the mount) is perhaps the most appropriate alter-ego invented for his character, espousing the virtuosity that's been one of the bedrocks throughout the series. A must-see for fans.

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