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May 2002                                                       SITE MAP   SEARCH
Knight Rider Volume 3
cast: David Hasselhoff, Edward Mulhare, Peter Parros and Patricia McPherson

directors: Winrich Kolbe, Bruce Bilson, and Sidney Hayers

140 minutes (PG) 1982, 1986
Universal Playback
DVD Region 2 + 4 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Ian Shutter
James Bond 007 drove a specially customised Aston Martin, Bruce Wayne (alias Batman) had his amazing Batmobile; Joe 90's old man owned an all-purpose air, land and seagoing vehicle - yes, every superhero needs a super car. As the caped crusader himself admits, pondering the glamour of costumed bravery in Batman Forever (1995): "It's the car... chicks love the car."
   Glen Larson knew that. He was the producer of space opera series BattleStar Galactica (1978-80), and created Knight Rider in 1982. It ran for four seasons and, unaccountably, was his biggest TV success - clocking up over 80 episodes. Now available on DVD, this astoundingly shallow action-adventure, starring the pathetic David Hasselhoff (a few years before BayWatch), makes for embarrassingly bland viewing - I can still hear my wife's bemused laughter as she left the room...
   Hasselhoff plays Michael Knight, an ex-cop turned undercover agent for the mysterious yet benevolent Knight Foundation, fighting corruption in all the old familiar places. His partner is the gimmicky talking sports car, K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries 2000), voiced by William Daniels, perhaps best known for his role as egotistical surgeon Dr Craig in TV series, St Elsewhere. Other regulars on Knight Rider were the permanently smug Edward Mulhare as Foundation boss Devon, and redhead Patricia McPherson as expert mechanic Bonnie. Peter Parros was the token young Black dude, and occasional sidekick. The heroic Michael talks to his car on a wrist radio ('hello, calling Dick Barton!'), walks manfully into obvious traps, and proved specially un-watchable in chauvinistic mode when required to chat up the young female guest stars. As for the car, everyone knows that KITT is outfitted with every conceivable science fictional gadget knows to US TV execs in the 1980s, including an ejector seat, scanners that cover the full electromagnetic spectrum, autonomic cruise control so the car can drive and park itself, plus that infamous 200+ mph turbo boosted engine. Very handy for when Hasselhoff was late for his perm at the hairdresser's.
   Okay, that's the intro. What about the three episodes on this disc? Prepare for some bad puns and alliteration... Knight Of The Rising Sun features a Japanese cult leader with a private army of ninjas; a family's auto business at a mortgaged stadium is failing due to sabotage in Slammin' Sammy's Stunt Show Spectacular; and a crusading female senator is threatened by rednecks in Just My Bill.
   For sure, the car is the star, and gets three out of the four marks I'll award this. A single point goes to the stuntmen involved in the show that came up with a few memorable gags over the years... But, well, for leading man Hasselhoff, let's give him minus-1,000 points.
   DVD extras: Dolby Digital stereo sound is all you get.