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Unhinged: A “Knight Rider” Reboot? Somebody Needs To Be Rebooted.

Unhinged: A “Knight Rider” Reboot? Somebody Needs To Be Rebooted.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Unhinged: A “Knight Rider” Reboot? Somebody Needs To Be Rebooted.

  1. Nate

    Eh, they picked a good director so I’ll keep my hopes up until I see who gets cast as the leads

  2. Brian Cooper

    The tv reboot that was a thinly veiled Ford advertisement from a few years back was pretty lousy. The super advanced car from 1983 is pretty much a stock car with a smart phone now (except for the turbo boost flying part). If they want to try to rekindle the old Knight Rider magic they should take a page from Stranger Things and set the show in 1983. That way KITT will seem like science fiction again and not a very well done raspberry pi integration.

    1. Matt Cramer

      There is still quite a gap between KITT’s self driving abilities and what’s actually been built, with stories like the Tesla car that plowed full speed into a stopped fire truck. But the turbo boost flying part and other stunt driving was a major part of the appeal.

      I don’t see trying to substitute a different vehicle for the Trans Am working – the nostalgia appeal would be gone, and without that, you might as well create a new franchise from scratch. Setting the story in the ’80s would work. But how about a storyline where KITT has been kept in storage somewhere and reactivated after being powered down for 30 years? You could have a bit of fun with contrasting KITT’s fictional abilities with what did and didn’t develop in the real world, and you could easily have an excuse to put David Hasselhoff in the story as a mentor to whoever you bring in for the new Knight Rider.

      Like the Cobra Kai show, you could probably get something interesting by taking the original story, and instead of rebooting it, asking “If this story continued for 30 years, where would it be now?” For extra lulz, have some of the lamer sequel cars turn up in the hands of the villains, and have KITT clobber them.

  3. 75Duster

    Hollywood has no originality at all, why can’t they create something original on there own, you would think during this Covid 19 they would write something of their own instead of “reboots” of Knight Rider and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

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