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Follows Sergeant "Pepper" Anderson, LAPD's top undercover cop. A member of the Criminal Conspiracy Unit, Pepper works the wild side of the street, where she poses as everything from a gangster's moll to a streetwalker to a prison inmate.
A U.S. Senator is spirited away to a secret New Mexico medical lab after a serious car crash. His injuries are completely healed by a secret organization that has developed advanced medical technology. What does the organization want in exchange for saving his life? Meanwhile, a reporter who witnessed the accident decides to investigate the senator's disappearance.Written by
Zachary Wheeler (Bradford Dillman), a state senator with great potential, gets into a horrific traffic accident in the opening minutes of this film. It doesn't seem that he will make it, and Harry Walsh (Leslie Nielsen), a reporter who arrives on the scene, accompanies him to Bethesda, where Harry witnesses the senator being whisked away to parts unknown. A cover-up is engineered regarding the senators' whereabouts, and Harry is right to smell a rat. He doggedly pursues his story, despite some risk to life and limb, while a revived Senator Wheeler discovers the incredible medical breakthrough that prolonged his life.
"The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler" is telling a tried-and-true Dr. Frankenstein-type story (scripted by Jay Simms and Tom Rolf), complete with the expected indignant reaction as the senator can't believe the gall of these doctors. The plot is rather reminiscent of the more well-known "Parts: The Clonus Horror", except that RoZW predates "Parts" by several years. It leads to some effectively creepy moments, and the yarn concocted by Simms & Rolf is utterly absorbing and interesting. The eventual resolution is not very satisfying, but up until then the film is quite fun, with plenty of location shooting in New Mexico, and a quick-thinking, likeable protagonist in the form of Walsh. You have to respect this guy for being so tenacious.
The whole cast is great. Dillman and Angie Dickinson, as one of the clinic doctors, strike up a warm relationship, James Daly is authoritative as the not-that-good doctor who's pioneered this revolutionary surgery, and Robert J. Wilke is an appropriately cold-blooded antagonist determined to keep the operations a secret. Other familiar faces like Jack Carter, Don Haggerty, William Bryant, Tristram Coffin, Byron Morrow, Harry Holcombe, and Tyler McVey also turn up.
Mildly flashy opening credits do give this the feeling of a classic B picture from decades past, which is fitting, since this was clearly done on a somewhat limited budget. But the moral / ethical questions posed here are still extremely relevant 47 years later.
The sole theatrical directing effort for Bob Wynn, who mostly worked in TV.
Eight out of 10.
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