Monday, March 10, 2008

Stepping Up My Game

Ok so I meant to post a recap of this as soon as I saw it, but I was too lazy. But at the urging of Inappropriate, here it is, my take on NBC's NEW Knight Rider movie that aired a few weeks ago after the season finale of the NEW American Gladiators.

So first of all, the movie was basically a 2 hour advertisement for Ford, as the new KITT is a Mustang, which was pointed out several times, and you could also notice that other cars in the movie were Fords. If this wasn't enough, every time they went to commercial there was an actual ad with the new Michael, Mike Traceur, sitting in a different Ford but talking to Kitt, who was jealous of him driving a car with the Sync system. Kitt even ruined one of Mike's dates he was so pissed. The ad then gave you a trivia question about the movie that you could answer online in an attempt to win yourself a Mustang like the one Kitt was.

ANYWAY, on to the actual content of the movie. I haven't read any reactions online by TV critics or fellow Knight Rider aficionados, but I have to say that I was definitely entertained, which is the whole point of Knight Rider, right? The guy that played the new Mike, Justin Bruening (who I had never heard of before this), did a pretty good job, and definitely seemed like a rightful heir to Hasselhoff. Turns out that Mike is actually the long-lost SON of Michael Knight himself, and his mom couldn't deal with his antics growing up and sent him off to military school. His mom however was friends with the inventor of Kitt, and growing up Mike lived near them and got to know the inventor's daughter. I forget her character's name already, but he basically has to help get her away from the dudes that tried to kill her dad and get the plans to Kitt and also this thing called Prometheus, which is a sort of A.I. thing the government is using. These bad guys are actually called BLACK RIVER, which is an obvious take-off on the real world military contractors Black Water, which I believe are based in North Carolina, right?

Oh, one more thing about Kitt that I forgot to mention earlier - his voice was originally supposed to be played by Will Arnett, which I'm sure would have brought a lot more entertainment value to the movie. However, Arnett has a deal with GM to do commercials or something, and they didn't like the idea of him being the voice of a Ford vehicle, even if it was just for a freaking Knight Rider TV movie! So Will got axed from the project and they brought in Val Kilmer. I knew this going into the movie, but I have to say Kitt did not sound like Val Kilmer to me. Maybe they did some sort of post-production tweaking to make him sound more like a robot car and less like the Val Kilmer of Batman and Top Gun. Whatever. It's a pity though that we didn't get to have Job from Arrested Development instead.

Getting back to the movie's content, Mike Traceur reluctantly goes along with the inventor's daughter and Kitt and they end up getting reunited with the inventor and Mike's mom. Only problem is the bad guys arrive there too (at some country motel), courtesy of being tipped off by the crooked town sheriff, who was radioing them details right under the nose of the FBI agent assigned to the case! The FBI agent is played by Sidney Poitier's daughter! How about that! A showdown ensues here and sadly Mike Traceur's mom takes a bullet to the chest and dies. It appears that Mike and the daughter are going to get it too, but he pulls some nice maneuvers and manages to get them away from the bad guys. Mike and the girl take Kitt to go track down the head bad guy, his dorky sidekick and the sheriff, who left with the inventor in an SUV that actually appeared to NOT be a Ford (perhaps they didn't want to associate Ford with bad in this case, makes sense). At this point Mike has Kitt's powers turned off so that he can't be hi-jacked by the dorky guy, but they realize when they reach the ultimate confrontation that they need Kitt in order to prevail. So after receiving a wink from the inventor as they pass the SUV, Mike tells the girt to turn Kitt back on and brace for impact. They only have 10 seconds before the dork gets control of Kitt's systems, so he cuts in front of the SUV, slams on the brakes and turns perpendicular to the oncoming baddies, who crash full force into Kitt! Of course Mike and the girl are ok, because Kitt is indestructible when his systems are on. The dork and the sheriff seemingly die, but the head bad guy, who was driving, manages to live. Maybe he had an airbag, although it wasn't visible. Anyway he is bleeding and has to surrender. The inventor dad also lives, probably because he had his seat belt on and the sheriff, who was sitting beside him, did not. Actually that isn't clear, so I don't know. At any rate he at least knew the crash was coming.

The movie then fast forwards to our main 4 characters in a limo going to Mike's mom's funeral. The inventor tells Mike about the history of Kitt and Michael Knight, and says he's starting the foundation back up again and wants Mike to drive Kitt. Mike is not up for this, because he's been portrayed up to this point as a pretty selfish person. He proclaims that this whole thing is insane and he wants no part of it, to which the inventor guy says that he's not insane, but rather the only SANE one, and in fact it's the rest of the world that's INSANE! This gives Mike some food for thought but he's still not budging.

Cut to the funeral scene, and there's a shadowy figure lurking in the distance, waiting for the proceedings to end before approaching Mike. Of course this is the man, the myth, the Hoff, and I have to say he isn't looking that terrific at this point. I haven't been watching America's Got Talent so I didn't really know how he was lookin' nowadays. Not good. Anyway Hoff/Knight explains himself to Mike and seems to get through to the kid somewhat. However you're still not sure if he's willing to take the job until they cut to the next scene, which is familiar to any fan of Knight Rider. Mike is sitting in Kitt, with the whole crew around him, including his buddy/roommate from earlier in the movie who has seemingly been hired by the foundation to be one of their mechanics. They're in a hangar type room and you figure that it's a semi like in the original Knight Rider. Mike gets his instructions, something to do with going to Prague, and then the back door opens up and he backs out onto the road. Turns out it wasn't a semi but an airplane that they were in! Upgrading for the 2000's, the Foundation is. Anyway Mike and Kitt drive off and that's the end. I should mention that there's also an update of the theme music, done in kind of a nu-metal style that kinda sucks. But otherwise it was pretty solid all in all, and I'll definitely be watching if they do decide to make it into a series. But get rid of Kilmer and find some way to get Arnett or somebody with a sense of humor as the voice of Kitt, because as we all know the original Mr. Feeney-voiced Kitt was a pretty funny character when he wanted to be. Ok the end.

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