This is most likely from the late 1970s, but it's possible it could have been on TV as late as 1981. This was a made-for-TV movie that might have even been a pilot for a series in the U.S. (If it made it to being a series, I never saw the series.)

In this story, a man loses the use of his legs. I think he's shot by someone. He startes experimenting and working with a metal that can bend or change shape. (I think he uses electric current to control the metal.) He makes a suit out of the material, with a dark visor over his face to hide his identity. He had a machine in the back of a van so he could lift himself into the machine, lie down, and the top would lower onto him and then he could emerge in his suit, which let him walk.

There was some kind of limitation to the suit. I think it was that the power supply could only last for a short time. In one scene, the suit runs out of power and he falls down just before the commercial break. After the break, a kid sees him and opens the visor before he suffocates from lack of air in the suit.

While it's not a big deal, it's one of those niggling memories so I'd like to be able to find out what the title was so I could look it up and read the synopsis about what happened in the movie.

  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viper_(TV_series) ? " The "Defender" was an invention of technological specialist Julian Wilkes (played by Dorian Harewood), who was paralyzed during a shootout between police and criminals." – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 13 '12 at 16:21
  • Not it -- it had to be in the 1970s, because my quirky memory remembers the TV set I saw it on and that it was while I was a teen. – Tango Feb 13 '12 at 16:25
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    This almost sounds like MANTIS, but it doesn't fit your described airdates. – user1027 Feb 13 '12 at 16:28
  • @Keen: Definitely not MANTIS. No cool vehicles and the hero in this one was caucasian. – Tango Feb 13 '12 at 16:32
  • Hey I've seen that movie! That scene you described with the hero almost suffocating brought it all back to me! – System Down Feb 14 '12 at 17:30

I believe you're looking for the TV movie Exo-Man (1977):

A professor, who has been paralyzed in an attack by mob hitmen, builds a suit that enables him to walk and fight crime.

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the visual -- that's it! And it just looks so 70s! – Tango Feb 13 '12 at 17:01

Exo man video located here . . . . .

  • I love how he shuts off the lights in the truck before exiting to fight crime.... – Massachahusetts Feb 27 '13 at 22:58
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    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the video link for reference. (Keep in mind that video links can easily break.) – neilfein Feb 28 '13 at 4:06

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