Monday, February 18, 2008

Ford Motor Car Theater Presents: Knight Rider

So, I watched it. I think most men from 30 years old and up felt like they had to check it out. Am I right? Anybody? When I was about 13, Knight Rider was awesome. I remember being very excited before the show aired. It just looked cool, a jet black Trans AM, that could drive itself, and talk. How could it be anything but great. Sometimes when I was playing with my friend I would pretend I was talking to KITT into my Casio digital watch. No, I wasn't a geek. Why do you ask?

Anyway, on to the new one. The show starts with some older guy dying by the hands of some generic bad guys. They didn't mean to kill him actually, they needed information from him, but he had a grabber and died. Bummer fro them. Now they had to go through the house and steal all the computers to get whatever information they needed. That's when they run across a car in the garage. Now it was in the garage, and I believe partially covered, but when it takes off they assume someone is in it, maybe that person slept in it. Don't get me wrong, the average person would not believea car could drive itself. The thing is, these guys knew the guy they were after worked on autonomous vehicles, that was the information they were after. Not much of a stretch to have a car that might be a prototype for such things. But I am nitpicking.

About the bad guys. They were quite a PC group. You had one guy who was from some European country, the accent was such that you couldn't be sure which. He had that familiar look, like he might have been a bad guy from another movie you have seen. But, he's not. One was an African American, one was Asian, and one was American. They covered the bases well.

So, after the car drives off and the guy is dead what comes next? Half naked women. Why not? You have the two in bed with Mike (we'll meet him later) and then a long take of a woman coming out of the ocean and rinsing off her bikini-clad body. Then we see her getting dressed and another girl, naked of course, in the bed wondering where she is going. She tells the girl in bed to lock up after she leaves, puts on her badge and loads her weapon and is off the FBI office. Why we need to see that portion of her life i don't know, but hey, anything to show some skin!

Next we meet the daughter, she's teaching a class about self-replicating nanotechnology and is asked about her estranged father from a student. You know, that happens all the time in class. I remember that happening all the time in my classes in college. Maybe I'm being too hard, I never took graduate level courses, it probably happens all the time.
KITT, which now stands for Knight Industries Three Thousand, finds her at school and saves her from the same men that broke into her her father's place.

After spinning through the campus they get out on the highway, then we spend much of this trip admiring the car. There are many, many sweeping passes of the car. Still shots of the Cobra on the side. Nice angled shots showing lines of the muscular car. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say a good 10 minutes of the movie were spent showing the car from different angles. I may be low on my estimate. Oh, and in the whole two hours I think I saw three car that was not part of the Ford Motor Group, and one of them was totaled.

So, it turns out the KITT is taking Sarah, the daughter, to Mike Traceur, to help. That is what her dad programmed the car to do. She's not happy because they used to be in love in college and her blew her off. Dads can be so inconsiderate. Somewhere along the road trip KITT notices she is sad and gets her to open up about her feelings. A car and a therapist, what a bonus.

By the way, the voice of KITT is supplied by Val Kilmer (you don't need a link, right? ). I'm pretty sure he did the voice work from his bed. He just sounds so sleepy. Or is it bored?

So Sarah and Mike meet up in Las Vegas, where he is trying to win money to pay of a $90,00 dollar debt, because that is the best way to get money fast to pay off some guys with guns. That sub-plot is so weak that it really doesn't matter. Of course, the bad guys after Sarah are in the Casino, but with the help of KITT, they get away. Not before Mike gets into an argument with KITT.

Again we are out on deserted roads at night, with no lights on. At one point they stop because Mike needs to pee. You don't see that enough on TV. While he is standing in front of the bushes Sarah decides to confront him on why he blew her off all those years ago. Here's a tip women, let the man pee in the bushes in peace, he's more apt to talk when he's not hanging out in nature, if you catch my drift. At a gas stop, KITT tries to get Mike to open up about why he blew her off. Come on, give the guy a break. Now the car is harping on him? Jeez.

Guess what? Sarah's dad didn't really die. It was his body double. The FBI lady knew that, turns out they were friends. That's why we got to see her in a bikini. At least that's the only reason I can see. Oh, and it turns out the Sheriff from the town is in with the bad guys and she leads them to Sarah's dad. Let's call him Charles, that was his name after all.

Charles calls KITT to talk to Sarah and let's her know where he is, he's with Mike's mom. For some reason Mike hates her, but we never really know why. All we know is he was a bad kid and was sent off to school and he's pissed about it. Is he still 12? They race off to the hotel, more splendid shots of the Mustang on the way, but they are a little late. The bad guys are there already. Charles is no dummy, he checks into four rooms, but doesn't say exactly which room he's going to be in. So the bad guys, remember there are four, check out three of the rooms at once. Guess which one Charles is in? Yep, the fourth. KITT is not easily fooled and leads Mike to the right room, where Mike's mom shoots at him.  Oops. The gunshot leads the bad guys to where they are and they all get caught right in front of KITT. Mike's mom, being the hard-ass she must be, I'm guessing since we've seen her for 5 minutes, pulls out a gun she's hiding and is killed. Four against one, who knew? At least she did get to tell Mike that his father was none other than the Michael Knight. No way!

In a Bond-esque move two of the bad guys go off and leave the other two to kill the FBI lady and Mike. Of course, they fail. You didn't think you'd get off that easy, did you? Just before they were captured KITT was hacked so they had to shut down his computers, now Mike has to drive himself to get the bad guys. It shouldn't be a problem though, their car isn't made by Ford.

They catch up and play bumper cars for awhile, this is when we find out that the computer must running for KITT to heal itself. During one pass, Charles gives Mike a cue and Mike races up in front. They re-boot KITT, which only takes 5 seconds, it must not run on Windows, and block the path of the truck carrying the bad guys and Charles. After some laws of physics are re-written the truck smashes into KITT, which stays in place, and everyone in the truck, except for Charles, are killed. But the lead bad guy, gets in one good line, "It's not over." Leading us to believe that the show has been picked up by NBC.

We cut to the funeral for Mike's mom. On the way over Charles asks Mike to drive KITT to stop all the bad guys in the world. He declines. He didn't believe in that same things they did. Talking cars? Good versus Evil? Hey, guess who showed up at the funeral? Yes, Michael Knight himself. After his very Darth Vader introduction "I'm Michael Knight. Your father." He tries to nudge Mike into joining up with Charles and KITT. Then he walks off, seemingly into the pond, because the way out of that cemetery was the other way. I still don't know where he went.

Finally we are at the end. Mike is in KITT. They are in an airplane, going to hunt some bad guys near Prague. Now at first, I thought they were in the truck, like the original, but then I wondered how they were going to drive to Prague. When I realized they were in a plane I wondered how they were going to drive out of it. You knew they were, that is the trademark of the show. Turns out they had the plane flying five feet over some highway, dumped KITT and Mike out the back, and they were gone. That was some fantastic flying!

And roll credits...

That was not good. Now that the writers are back, let's hope they have something better to put on in this time slot.


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Sounds hilariously bad - but the hilarious part is undoubtedly in the way you tell it.

Mike said...

Yes, it was. Sometimes we need to make sacrifices for ours blogs. :) But, it was fun writing about it.

Unfocused Me said...

I saw the original KITT (or one of the KITTs) a couple of months ago at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois. My wife and I were tickled, but my kids (7 and 4) were completely unimpressed. "What are the big red lights for?" Like somebody put Christmas tree lights on a car. Jeez. We tried to explain, but they didn't care. We were there to see Adam West's original Batmobile and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, and nothing else mattered.

Kids today. Jeez.

unfocused me said...

And great summary. Sorry, meant to say that right up front.

Mike said...

I drive past Volo all the time to go to my dad's house. I've never been there, but I always hear about the cool cars: the General Lee, KITT, etc. My son would probably like it.
Did you watch it? I hope you didn't waste your time.