Saturday, September 27, 2008

Knight Rider: Hot Car & Hot Babes [Not Much Else Under The Hood]

Cue the hot car, cue the hot women [some obligatory skin shots and sexual innuendo], a cheesy soundtrack and of course Michael Knight and you might just have the ingredients to a surprisingly successful guilty pleasure [or not].

The new and improved, state-of-the-art Knight Rider is all hot cool done with smoke and mirrors. The centerpiece is a slick black Ford Mustang GT and it is suuwwweeet! For the kiddies we get the ocassional Transformers-styled car mutations which also keep things interesting for car and truck afficionados. All in all, this ain't your daddy's Michael Hasselhoff folks, and you'll probably miss that about it. In fact, keep the kids away because the sexual innuendo does fly. In fact, the two leads were almost naked in the car within the first fifteen minutes. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Still, the acting is universally atrocious. There isn't a likeable character amidst the bunch of these shallow and vacuous [albeit sexy] meat puppets. You won't want your kids spending time with them.

Val Kilmer [Red Planet, Heat] adds a nice vocal touch to the on-board artifical intelligence known famously as K.I.T.T.. The yellow maintenance arms that work on K.I.T.T. in their top secret location are so smart they even get a name too. Nothing is too heady here. There's loads of nonsense and a mcguffin in the form of "The Package" keeps the stakes high and the action moving forward, and move forward at a breathless pace it does. Very fast! In fact, the pace is so swift you get the feeling it's creators don't want to allow you any time blowing holes in the plot. In fact, the artificial intelligence is just as interested in sexual allusions as the rest of the cast.

What I loved about it was, for a computer that's self-aware, this entertainment vehicle isn't taking itself seriously whatsoever. So many shows today [Lost, Fringe] are so SERIOUS. Don't get me wrong, thank God they exist. I couldn't live without them. It's just that this is a nice break from the rest of the pack. It's a throwback to cheesy-ass good fun, some very hot cheesy ass mind you. The engine rev of that Mustang and the road sequences just rock! The simplicity of it provides more excitement here than Fringe has mustered in three episodes. The swooshing sound effect of K.I.T.T.'s scanning, front, red light is clearly reminiscent of those classic cylons [from Battlestar Galactica] and there's a lot of old-fashioned thrills underneath this car's hood [not much else]. I like it. The plot is essentially rediculous, but there are enough questions planted about Michael Knight's past to keep most brain-dead couch potatoes interested. They even leave him shot and left for dead at the end of this one. What a cliffhanger! Not really. The whole thing is just as goofy as the original, but it's dressed up real glossy-like in a fine, sexy sheen. It dazzles, but I must admit it's unlikely to keep my attention for very long. I wanted to like it more than I did and to be honest it was pretty poor on many fronts. I could see this vehicle getting rusty fast.

Knight Rider [1982-1986; 4 Seasons; Glen A. Larson]: Back when life was simple as a black Pontiac Trans AM.

I do feel like Knight Rider serves up just enough eye candy and action for the testosterone-driven folk who were let down by the ephemeral Drive Fox dropped on us for about four episodes [with Nathan Fillion]. Drive attempted complex a la Lost, but for the motor heads only to crash and burn [have I used all of the car cliches yet?]. Knight Rider offers no such aspirations, but this thing just might get the kind of mileage and speed that the Bionic Woman just wasn't built for! [Nope there's one more]. But if you're going for the adult set the writing has to improve. If you want kids it needs to be more like a V6 on the scantily clad women. But make up your mind, you can't have it both ways.
This is just wildly mindless fun and there isn't anything intellectual about it. Quite frankly it's all very stupid, but what's wrong with that once in awhile? Still, bad writing, bad acting, good effects, smokin' hotties getting naked and hell, that freakin' car! Fuhgeddabout it! You know you big boys are comin' back. The question is: will there be enough of you for the long haul? I suspect the fuel necessary to keep this one flying may get too expensive.

Premiere: B-
Update: September 2009: By January 2009, the new and improved Knight Rider was axed from the airwaves. The problem was it was a little too slick and glossy for its own good. There was not much under that shiny hood. My assessment wasn't that far off. It lasted longer than some series, but not long enough. Poor acting, poor scripting overwhelmed the solid visual effects and Knight Rider finally lost fuel sputtering to a halt as viewers stopped tuning in.

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