Knight Rider: Knight of the Phoenix (TV series pilot)

release year: 1982
genre: action/adventure
viewing setting: home DVD, 3/10/05

synopsis: A cop is apparently killed by spies...but gets a new face, a tricked-out Trans-Am, and a second chance thanks to a dying millionaire.

impressions: A very good pilot for the TV series. It establishes everything - motives, explanations, the main characters - and also manages to tell a compelling story. It's worth noting that for the time, this pilot had some rough stuff - notably visible blood from the gunshot to the head in the beginning act.

the "hey, haven't I seen that person somewhere else?" factor: 1) Lance LeGault, who plays a security officer here, was Colonel Decker in The A-Team. 2) Charles Napier, who plays a thug here, has had many roles including the betrayer of John Rambo in Rambo. 3) John Quade, who plays another thug here, was the leader of the Black Widows biker gang in Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can. 4) Pamela Susan Shoop, who plays a sympathetic co-lead here, was a naked steam-bath victim in Halloween 2.

something this movie has that no other movie has: An intelligent, talking super-car!

acting: David Hasslehoff takes this role and runs with it. Willaim Daniels is the voice of KITT, and really creates a good character. Edward Mulhare is Devon, the executor or the estate and the behind-the-scenes help for Michael.

final word: Good movie, whether self-contained or as the pilot for its series.

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