Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

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Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by goldbug » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:28 am

I actually enjoyed "Knight Rider 2010". There, I said it. Let that sink in for a moment and I'll explain.

Was KR 2010 a good "Knight Rider" movie? No, not really. However, it was an interesting sci-fi yarn much like the "Hercules" movies of that time were fun, "turn your brain off" fantasy adventures. The movie presented some fascinating ideas that, sadly, were not taken far enough to make the movie a solid film. While poking around the web I found this web site: http://www.fortunecity.com/tatooine/phl ... 9/id60.htm which has an early draft of the "Knight Rider 2010" script.

Now, I'll preface this review by saying that I'm assuming the above article is genuine since everything else on that site appears legit. For all I know, this is a speculative work of fan fiction, but it introduces some ideas that I found interesting enough to discuss. I also believe this was a very early draft of the script (possibly the first) so it is rather weak in terms of dialogue and it feels like many scenes were going to be revised later on had this version of the story been shot.

Summary:
Forget the "Knight Rider 2010" that you know, this is a much different story. Set in the year 2010, the United States has become a "smoke free" country where smoking is banned in a (then) modern day Prohibition movement. As a result, criminals now charge up to fifteen dollars per cigarette in secret "smoking houses".

As the script begins, we see a seventh generation K.I.T.T. chasing down a van belonging to these criminals, driven by one of the best "Knight Riders", a man named Woodyard. Unfortunately he is ambushed and killed. The criminals try to capture the supercar, but K.I.T.T. self destructs before they can get their hands on him.

To replace Woodyard, the military enlists K.D. Hackett, a promising cadet right out of the academy. Going with her is Lincoln, her love interest and a mechanical/computer whiz. Together, the two try to track down those who took down Woodyard. They are given permission to build their own custom K.I.T.T. car but Brady, the man in charge of the K.I.T.T. program tells them they cannot, under any circumstances, change the artificial intelligence (the 2100) in the car.

During the process of investigating Woodyard's murder, K.D. is killed and Lincoln is left with K.I.T.T. and the results of a project he and K.D. had begun years ago: the creation of an AI based on a human being. In this case, he has K.D. on a series of disks. Enlisting the help of a hacker, he takes out the car's existing AI and replaces it with K.D.'s. She gains awareness and struggles with her strange new existence as she and Lincoln work together to take down the criminals responsible for the murder of two Knight Riders.

By the end of the story, Lincoln succeeds and he is given a full status as a Knight Rider with K.D.'s unique vehicle as his own.

Review:
Ok, let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.

The idea of a "Smokeless" USA is extremely outdated. Written in the super politically correct 90's, I can see what the writers were trying to do with this. It gives a lite-dystopian view of the world where something as simple as cigarette smoking has been banned. It automatically creates an uncomfortable atmosphere because you begin asking yourself whether this is a world you would want to be a part of (whether you smoke or not). However, this theme is never really explored. In fact, we are meant to root for the "good guys" who are the ones who have to enforce this seemingly unfair policy - and that automatically takes them down a notch.

The other major criticism I have is that the script does not present a lot of action. There are maybe a total of three fight scenes and only one scene of major "car action" towards the end. I'm sure later revisions (and some cool stunt coordination) would have spiced it up a bit, but as it stands it would have been a bit dull to watch.

Perhaps the worst part of the script is that K.I.T.T. (any of them) have virtually no personality. The K.I.T.T. AI has all the charisma of a talking GPS. I think this might have been deliberate to contrast the K.I.T.T. AI from K.D. once her "mind" is inserted into the car. However, she doesn't show much personality either! I think if the script had gone through revisions in this direction they probably would have inserted better dialogue between her and Lincoln.

Despite these problems, there are some really good ideas at the heart of this story - some of which carried over to the "Knight Rider 2010" that actually aired. Lincoln is clearly the template for the character we would know later as Jake McQueen. He is the reluctant hero who eventually rides off into the sunset with his car (metaphorically speaking). K.D. is the early version of Hannah, though no "mind crystals" are involved here. The hacker Odyssey is reminscent of Dean (who, in the final movie, helps Jake build his car). There is even a sequence in this script that carries over to the final movie where the car is built and lots of dramatic angles and tech are described for the vehicle. Also, the idea that criminals are rampant everywhere, even forming their own social institutions is echoed in the final product via "The Zones".

Of course, the primary element carrying over is a man who is in love with the soul in his car - a dramatic extension of the real life "love" men are often portrayed as having for their cars. As a concept carried over for a "reimagining" of Knight Rider, this has its pros and cons. The cons are simple: it's not the core of what Knight Rider was. Part of KR's original appeal was the "buddy/partner" relationship between Michael Knight and KITT. This was akin to the relationship of two cops who are partners and it worked really well. Adding a romantic (dare I say, romantic) context strays from the core of the show. That said, it adds an emotional depth that did not exist in the original show and allows for some interesting story possibilities to explore on the nature of existence, what is "reality" etc. Coupled with the virtual reality ideas that were so pervasive in science fiction at the time, this would have been interesting to see if you take one step back from the 80's show.

The cars themselves show potential, and each has offensive weaponry as one would expect from a law enforcement "super car". They are bulletproof, though the MBS is never mentioned by name. Some hacking abilities are shown too with K.I.T.T. breaking a password lock at one point and K.D. entering a company's mainframe via a "virtual" world. I suspect more might have been added, budget allowing and if this had gone to series. I love the idea that Wilton Knight's dream has spread across the country where there are K.I.T.T. cars in every state out there helping to enforce the law. I also dig the idea that the drivers are all hand selected from groups like the military.

Brady, the man now running the Knight Rider program is an interesting contrast to Devon or Wilton. He firmly believes in "hope in a hopeless world" but he does not believe that "One man can make a difference." In many ways he feels like someone who was once an idealist but saw too many people die over time fighting for justice. Yet some part of him still clings on to hope despite his bitterness.

As characters, Lincoln and K.D. feel a bit forced. They're in love, but they can't admit it etc. I think these elements could have been developed more, but the core of a young couple with a strong bond is there, and that is a good starting point. Lincoln is a military man here (much like McQueen was in the final product) and he has a rebellious streak that I like. However here he is much more of a techie, an aspect lost in the character's transition to becoming Jake McQueen. These two characters needed the most work, but I think given another draft or two they could have been improved significantly.

I make little mention of the bad guys since they are mostly ciphers. The only aspect I found interesting is that one of the bad guys is a collector who wants "a K.I.T.T. car" in his collection. I'm sure part of the idea is to reverse engineer the technology in the vehicle, but he seems to want the vehicle itself as a collectors item, which I thought was a humorous touch.

I think in some ways the "Knight Rider 2010" that could have been would have appealed more to KR fans than the one we finally got. That said, I'm not sure the hardcore fans could have accepted this as a full blown series the way other "Action Pack" movies such as Hercules and Xena became long running shows. This particular franchise may have worked best as a series of films instead.

It also struck me that over time the cost of producing this type of show might have been pricey since the cars do under go quite a bit of damage as they shoot and burn each other (or just self destruct). In this day and age, CGI would mitigate that but back in the early 90's I'm not sure it may have been as effective.

Overall, some good ideas but it needed work.
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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by Blazing » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:28 am

Wow finaly someone in this forum who also enjoyed the film besides me... Well by reading the very early drafts of the script, i'd say the story is kinda hard on KITT, even if it does have connections to the earlier series. By this, I'm glad that the movie came out as it did becouse as True Knight Rider fans, who wants to see the driver of Knight Rider just get killed and then suddenly the car destroys itself also and then some people decide to build a KITT of their own. To me it sounds like people can build their own custom KITT's whenever they want to but the fact is: KITT's AI and Trans Am body is UNIQUE! I probably wouln't have liked that film :? I'll tell you this, the current 2010 isn't perfect but it has good actors, camera work etc... and the story realy beats the original thought story for the film. I'd rather see a different story featuring a junked Mustang than KITT being thrown around...

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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by Army_F_Body » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:40 pm

Yeah, 2010 tends to grow on you after a while. Seems like it was decided long ago that 2000 and 2010 suck, period the end, and are wholly without any redemption so it seems people just blindly follow suit. Are both perfect films and worthy successors to the KR franchise? Hell, no, but they did have some good parts/concepts, imo. I think I'm one of the few people that truly enjoyed 2000, so I know what you guys are feeling (apparently you have no worth to the fanbase if you admit in a public forum that you like either one of those films, having opinions different from the norm is bad, btw, guys :roll: ). Not trying to dump on anyone that stands firm that these two movies sucked, 2000 and 2010 were pretty bad, but still both a unique and colorful part of the KR multiverse. It's just seems that saying 2000 or 2010 had some positive aspects seems to be fighting words around here.

I really would have liked to have seen that version filmed. Since I was a grumpy, opinionated and basically naive teenager when it aired, I immediately denounced it for having no connections what-so-ever to the original show, but over time it kinda grew on me as a unique Mad Max/Cherry 2000 kind of flick. Having the GF put into the car was a unique twist rather than through out some new and improved AI.

Thanks for bringing this up. When I get some time I plan to check that script out.
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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by goldbug » Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:21 pm

Truthfully I'm shocked that there aren't twenty follow up posts telling me how insane I am for liking KR 2010 at all or taking the time to write this script review. 8)

Now I'm trying to figure out how to get a copy of the thing on DVD. All I have is an old VHS copy, and the quality is kinda icky. I heard in Europe somewhere this was put out in DVD release but for the life of me I can't find a copy anywhere!
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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by Scott Kirkessner » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:23 am

I liked 2010 as well... it wasn't Knight Rider, but it had a very loose connection (moreso inspiration). It had a pretty decent SciFi story to it.

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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by Knight6000 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:56 pm

I've never seen it,but I really want to.

Goldbug,if you find any leads on it on DVD please let me know as I would like to get a hold of a copy.

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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by CJaguar442 » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:41 pm

wasnt it set in an Apocalyptic future like mad max i have not seen it in years
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Re: Knight Rider 2010 - what could have been (a script review)

Post by goldbug » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:15 am

CJaguar442 wrote:wasnt it set in an Apocalyptic future like mad max i have not seen it in years


The funny part is, it looks apocalyptic but in fact there was no indication it was. It's just that most of the film took place in deserts, which don't exactly look very clean or futuristic. There is evidence that some sections of cities were blocked off by the government, but that's hardly "apocalyptic" and when McQueen talks about Hannah's parents, he indicates pretty ritzy parties took place as he looks at a very futuristic looking city in the distance.

However, there is no doubt they were going for a "Mad Max" feel by mainly setting it in the desert, giving the car a hardcore "rough" look and focusing on the criminal element as both heroes and villains.
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