Though tarted up with peripheral adult subject matter and a nude lovemaking scene, INVISIBLE: THE CHRONICLES OF BENJAMIN KNIGHT is basically a Saturday matinee serial full of improbable villains, carefully spaced cliffhangers, and science-fiction wizardry. Blending a matter-of-fact
approach to post-Cold War espionage in the Communist Bloc with sporadic tongue-in-cheek asides, INVISIBLE bounces agreeably but insipidly along the path of least resistance.
Experimenting with Mandroid, a mechanical do-gooder, paraplegic visionary Wade (Brian Cousins) and second-generation scientist Zanna (Jennifer Nash) conduct top secret experiments with their neophyte assistant Ryder (David Kaufman). Meanwhile, at the Ogard Sanitarium, disfigured mad scientist
Drago (Curt Lowens), Zanna's uncle, orders the kidnapping of female travelers for the pleasure of his asylum inmates. He also plots to take over an invisibility formula discovered by Zanna's late father. Wade and Zanna, who are conducting flesh restoration experiments on their incorporeal comrade
Benjamin Knight (Michael Dellafemina), are unaware that Benjamin's physician Dr. Knox (Alan Oppenheimer) is in league with military despot Petroff (Aharon Ipale) to steal the invisibility formula. They also don't know that Ryder must obey Drago's orders because his father is being held captive at
Fleeing with invisibility crystals which sear his flesh, Ryder dies in a fatal car crash. After a flashback revealing that Benjamin's invisibility was caused by a scuffle with nutty professor Drago, Benjamin uses his gift to free Zanna from the clutches of Petroff at his headquarters. Zanna and
Benjamin (who can occasionally reappear) flee to their hideout and conceal themselves in a secret bookcase passage, while the government guards carry off Wade and Mandroid. While Wade is tortured by Petroff, Zanna is captured by Drago's loonies, who shoot Benjamin. Taking advantage of his
invisibility, Benjamin forces Dr. Knox to inject himself instead of Wade, knocks out Petroff, and enables Wade and Mandroid to escape and accompany him to Ogard Sanitarium. Once there, Wade defeats the madmen, Mandroid saves Zanna--who's been dangled over a pit by Uncle Drago--and Zanna pushes the
avuncular traitor out the window. Then the intrepid band of modern day musketeers, having cleaned up Eastern Europe, propose a move to Washington D.C.
INVISIBLE aims to deliver fast-paced action and a minimum of technobabble, which is all to the good. Unfortunately, its minor pleasures are offset by some major miscalculations. In particular, the gratuitously nasty sex scenes are way out of place in a film whose gee-whiz tone and silly plot are
reminiscent of a 1950s superhero TV show. The exploits of horny lunatics who force captives to don cheesy dancing girl costumes before gang-raping them are not appropriate comic relief, especially not in a film that is, at heart, pure adolescent escapism.
INVISIBLE also suffers from an excess of subplots; it could have been slimmed down without damage by jettisoning the entire Ryder sequence. (Graphic violence, nudity, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: Though tarted up with peripheral adult subject matter and a nude lovemaking scene, INVISIBLE: THE CHRONICLES OF BENJAMIN KNIGHT is basically a Saturday matinee serial full of improbable villains, carefully spaced cliffhangers, and science-fiction wizardry.… (more)