In 2000, Nicolas Cage became Randal “Memphis” Raines for the reworking of the H.B. Halicki legend “Gone in 60 Seconds”. In 2004, “Starsky and Hutch” got reworked, with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Snoop Dogg reprising the roles of David Starsky, Ken Hutchinson and “Huggy Bear”, respectively. In 2005, “The Dukes of Hazzard” got it’s movie re-imagining, with Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville trying to pull off a Bo and Luke Duke, Jessica Simpson turning Daisy Duke blonde, Burt Reynolds slimming down Boss Hogg a bit (but leaving him a bit more evil, in my opinion) and Willie Nelson putting in a very respectable performance as Uncle Jesse. What do these movies have in common? They brought the memory of the true star of the show, the cars, right back into modern pop culture. The “General Lee” Charger and the red Gran Torino with the white stripe and the mags were everywhere once again. But they were also reboots of somebody else’s original work, and it’s difficult to say if the reboot was worth the effort. We’re not talking about “Eleanor”, because the reboot turned the car from a 1973 Mach 1 that was more or less stock into a tricked-out 1967. All-new car for a different movie.
Well, the rumor mill is at work saying that a new Knight Rider flick is in the work that will be held in the present-day timeline. T.J. Fixman, a former video game writer who has writing credits for the Ratchet & Clank series, Overstrike, and Resistance 2, is working on the ode to Glen A. Larson’s original show and that’s pretty much all that’s known at this point in time. We’d have to expect that a few early third-gen Firebirds have been snapped up in preparation for their conversion to the Knight Industries 2000, and we have to wonder who is playing what part yet, especially since the original Michael, David Hasselhoff, is sixty-eight years old at this point and is probably not up to heavy-duty police action.
I understand that nostalgia is a way to capture the imagination of the audience and that 1980s stuff is big right now (read: Radwood shows). But did we need a Knight Rider reboot? What about the three movies and television series that have come since the original television show ceased in 1986? Which version of KITT are we getting this time…Pontiac, the Shelby GT500KR, or the Dodge Stealth that was kitted out to look like the Pontiac Banshee IV concept car? And let’s not even get into the fleet of other Knight Industries vehicles from the Team Knight Rider show. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is why did this show deserve to be brought back to life? The elements that made it what it is are past their prime. Cars talk and short of active armor and flight abilities, can do pretty much everything KITT did back in the 1980s that seemed like science-fiction. Hasselhoff’s personality was a draw…who is going to fill that leather jacket?
Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake only is less like a wistful look to the past and more like a cash grab. It’s too early to say if this movie will be good or bad. For all we know, it’ll languish in development hell before fading out. But don’t expect me to be positive about what it’ll be until it’s finally hitting theaters…and I see the results for myself.