RIDING WITH DEATH (1976)
Article 4653 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Alan J. Levi and Don McDougall
Featuring Ben Murphy, Katharine Crawford, Richard Dysart
What it is: Two episodes of “Gemini Man”
A secret agent with the power to turn invisible is sent out on two missions. In the first, he is sent out to deliver a super-fuel, unaware that the fuel is unstable. In the second, he goes undercover at a race track to find proof against a man believed guilty of sabotage.
According IMDB, this movie’s rating is just a hair above the one for yesterday’s atrocity. It’s actually not near as bad as yesterday’s movie, but this one suffers from the burden of having been an episode of MST3K, the fandom of which is known to give every movie featured on the show the lowest possible rating on the site. This, combined with the fact that the movie has few defenders (or even people who have bothered to see it outside of its appearance on MST3K), is what makes the rating so low. Granted, there’s not a whole lot to defend here; it’s one of those movies edited together from two weak episodes of a poor short-lived TV series (“Smithereens” and “Buffalo Bill Rides Again” from GEMINI MAN) that is largely forgotten, and it’s not even much fun on a campy level. The two episodes have a few other things in common; they both feature singer Jim Stafford as a guest star, they both prominently involve driving vehicles, and they both feature the same climax in which the hero has to drive a dangerous vehicle about to explode out of a crowded area to save the lives of the innocent. The fact that two episodes out of a twelve-episode series had to make use of the same climax certainly doesn’t bode well for the quality of the series, but the most disappointing thing is that it barely makes use of the invisibility gimmick; each of the episodes could have been adapted so the invisibility played no part of it. Nor is the concept of the series particularly novel; the TV series THE INVISIBLE MAN from the year before largely had the same approach, and thought it was a little better, it lasted about as long as this one. All in all, this one is pretty forgettable.