DEATH RAY 2000 (1981)
aka T.R. Sloane
Article 4017 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Lee H. Katzin
Featuring Robert Logan, Dan O’Herlihy, Penelope Windust
What it is: Bond TV show pilot, Quinn Martin style
When a super-dehydrator is stolen (a virtual death ray), a special agent named T.R. Sloane is called out to find the culprit.
There was a resurgence of popularity in the James Bond movies in the late seventies/early eighties, resulting in an assortment of rip-offs. This pilot for the TV series “A Man Called Sloane” is one of them, though a few changes were made for the TV series; the rather uninteresting Robert Logan was replaced by Robert Conrad (who, having played James West in “The Wild, Wild West”, already had his James Bond imitation credentials in order), and the henchman villain of this movie (Ji-Tu Cumbuka) would be resurrected as one of the good guys, both of which probably helped the series, albeit not enough to make the series last for more than half a season. The movie pilot itself isn’t particularly impressive; in fact, much of it feels silly and forced. Dan O’Herlihy probably steals the movie performance-wise, and Clive Revill and Cumbuka aren’t bad as the villains, but the hero is dull and the pacing is poor. All in all, this one is pretty forgettable.