Knight Rider (2008 film)

Knight Rider

Title Card
Genre Action
Creator Glen A. Larson
Directed by Steve Shill
Produced by David Andron
Written by David Andron & Glen A. Larson
Starring Justin Bruening
Deanna Russo
Bruce Davison
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Val Kilmer (Voice)
David Hasselhoff
Greg Ellis
Country United States
Language English
Original channel NBC
Release date February 17, 2008
Running time 120 minutes (including commercials)/ Approx. 80 Minutes (excluding commercials)

Knight Rider is a 2008 television movie which was created to serve as a backdoor pilot for the new Knight Rider television series, a revival of the series of the same name which aired during the 1980s. This film does not refer to either the Knight Rider 2000 film or the Team Knight Rider television series.



At night, several power company technicians answer a call at Charles Graiman's home. He is suspicious, as he did not expect them until the next morning. They threaten his daughter if he does not cooperate, and Graiman suffers a fatal heart attack. Searching his home for hard drives containing the information they are after (for a defense project named Prometheus), they stumble across a parked Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang that they unsuccessfully try to stop.

Mike Traceur (Bruening), a 23-year-old ex-Army Ranger, is awakened by his friend Dylan Fass to deal with two men who are attempting to collect a $90,000 gambling debt. Traceur's car breaks down when he attempts to flee, and the men threaten Fass's life if Traceur does not pay the debt.

FBI agent Carrie Rivai (Poitier) receives a call that Graiman, her longtime friend, is dead and leaves her date, a woman she met the night before, to investigate.

Sarah Graiman (Russo), a 24-year old Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University, lectures a class on nanotechnology. After the lecture she receives a phone call from KITT warning her about the men planning to abduct her. Her pursuers catch her, but KITT rescues her. Sarah and KITT track down Traceur, who turns out to be her childhood friend, and whom she was involved with has not seen since he left home at 18. They find him at the Montecito Casino, playing poker to repay his debt. He is resistant when Sarah asks for help, but agrees when she offers to pay his debt. The two set out to find out what happened to Graiman, and discover who is after them.

Rivai arrives at Graiman's home, and is asked by the local sheriff (Chris Mulkey) to identify the body. She discovers it is not Charles Graiman; the real Graiman (Davison) escaped through the woods and left a double behind. Graiman makes his way to the home of Traceur's mother, Jennifer (Susan Gibney). The two leave for a motel.

The men chasing them are mercenaries for BlackRiver, a security contractor. They are after Prometheus, a system that controls the entire United States defense network. Information needed to control the system is contained on Graiman's hard drives in the mercenaries' possession, but is encrypted; only Graiman and Sarah know the encryption keys. KITT also possesses the data and can access the system.

Graiman contacts Sarah and asks her to meet him at the motel. He advises Sarah to contact Rivai for help. When she does so, Rivai puts her phone in speaker-mode so the sheriff can hear the location, unaware that the sheriff is working with the mercenaries.

KITT, Sarah and Traceur find the men have reached the motel, but have not found Graiman, as he checked into four different rooms. Using KITT's infrared sensors, Traceur finds Graiman and his mother and rescues them. Jennifer and Graiman reveal that Traceur's father was a man named Michael Knight and that he drove the first KITT, forcing him to stay away from his family. Traceur is absorbing this information when they reach KITT and find one of the mercenaries hacking into his system. Graiman asks KITT to shut-down to prevent further infiltration, and suggests Traceur drive the car manually.

As the group is leaving, the mercenaries find them, shooting and kill Jennifer. Graiman is taken away and the other two are left to kill Traceur and Rivai and watch over Sarah and KITT. Traceur and Rivai overpower them, and Traceur and Sarah take KITT to chase after Graiman, while Rivai stays with Jennifer's body.

Traceur and Sarah discover KITT's vulnerability to damage, due to the loss of his self-repair capabilities while his system is deactivated. After exchanging fire, Traceur reactivates KITT with just enough time to activate his armor without allowing the mercenaries to hack into him, and turns KITT directly into the mercenaries' path, causing a collision. KITT survives with no damage, while the mercenaries' SUV is heavily damaged. Graiman survives while his captors are mortally wounded or dead.

On the way to Jennifer's funeral, Graiman reveals that he's re-forming the Foundation, and offers Traceur the chance to drive KITT, which he refuses due to philosophical differences, saying "I just don't believe in the same things you do."

At the funeral, Traceur meets Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff), who tells him what Wilton Knight once told him on his death-bed—that one man can make a difference, and that he (Knight) was that man. They shake hands and as Knight prepares to leave, Traceur asks if they will ever meet again, to which Knight responds, "I hope so."

Traceur is behind KITT's wheel in an enclosed area. Rivai, Graiman, Sarah and Fass bid him farewell and inform him of his mission. Sarah kisses him goodbye, and a door opens behind him that shows a moving road. KITT drives out in reverse. The door is the cargo hatch of a C-130 Hercules cargo plane, which then takes off. Mike switches to manual at KITT's indignation, turns KITT around, and drives away.


On September 26, 2007, NBC announced that it would create a two-hour backdoor pilot to air during the 2007–2008 season.[1] Justin Bruening stars as Mike Traceur, the estranged son of Michael Knight.[2] Other actors who appeared in the movie include Deanna Russo as Traceur's former girlfriend and love interest, Sarah Graiman,[2] Bruce Davison as Sarah's father, physicist Charles Graiman,[2] and Wayne Kasserman as Dylan, Traceur's roommate and friend.[3] David Hasselhoff returns as Michael Knight in a cameo.[2] KITT is portrayed as a black 550 horsepower (410 kW) Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang.[4]

Supervising producer David Andron wrote the pilot script under executive producers Doug Liman and Dave Bartis.[5] The success of the 2007 film Transformers inspired NBC Entertainment President Ben Silverman to revive Knight Rider.[1]

NBC announced on December 13, 2007 that the new two hour pilot would air on February 17, 2008. Two new cast members were also announced; Will Arnett as the voice for the new KITT Mustang, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier as FBI agent Carrie Rivai. Less than two weeks before the television film aired, Arnett stepped down as the voice of KITT after General Motors informed him of a conflict of interest, since Arnett does voiceover work for GMC Trucks.[6] As a result, Val Kilmer landed the role of voicing KITT.[6]

Several scenes use the fictional Montecito Resort and Casino, from NBC's series Las Vegas.


Featured music

  • Intro Sequence — Knight Rider (Original Theme Remix)
  • Chase Scene -
  • Grief Scene - "Happy" by The Wrens
  • Las Vegas Scene -
  • Funeral Scene - "Right Here" by Natalie Walker
  • TV Promotion - "Yeah Yeah" by Feeder

Knight Industries Three Thousand (K.I.T.T.)


The Knight Industries Three Thousand (K.I.T.T.) superseded the Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T.).[7] Voiced by Val Kilmer, KITT is a modified 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR[7] and has similar features to the original KITT. The new KITT boasts the following features among others:[7]

  • 550 horsepower (410 kW) solar hybrid engine
  • Sports-tuned suspension
  • Xenon headlamps with infrared night-vision
  • Metallic paint with nanotech enhanced camouflage that morphs the license plates and disguises the car as a normal Mustang in different colors.
  • Turbo Boost
  • Military satellite access
  • FBI database access
  • Self-regeneration and damage repair
  • High-speed Internet
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Voice-activated GPS
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard in the glove box under an accessory drawer
  • Biometric Interface to access security features.
  • Wireless headset to communicate with passengers within a limited distance.
  • Biomedical Scanner.
  • New attack mode
  • Laser
  • Electro magnetic pulse to knock out nearby electronic equipment

It is important to note that if KITT's Artificial Intelligence is offline, the self-regeneration mechanism is inactive, making it as vulnerable as an ordinary car. Part of the shutting down procedures of KITT's AI includes the release of the clutch pedal as well as a stick shift to allow manual control.

Other details from the pilot film:

  • Driving cross-country, KITT can average a speed of 191 mph (307 km/h) and travel 627 mi (1,009 km) in 3 h 17 min.
  • Although largely solar powered, KITT does use gasoline; with 91% of the energy being recycled, it averages 167 mpg-US (1.4 l/100 km).

Instead of the famous communicator watch, KITT communicates with its operators via a Bluetooth-style wireless headset, and can access wireless phone networks. Since KITT can tie into numerous computer systems, it is able to emulate many of the functions of the watch, such as unlocking doors.

Connections to original Knight Rider

Besides the remixed and original theme song and cameo by Michael Knight, the original KITT is shown (still in pieces) in the scene where the antagonists search the garage. The Trans-am body (sans-hood) is partially covered by a tarp, on which rest the rear spoiler. The famous KITT steering wheel (labeled "Knight Two Thousand") and "KNIGHT" license plate are also shown, along with numerous black car body parts. Also, when the camera shows a full scene of the garage, there are three cars in the garage: The 3000, The 2000 under the tarp and a 2000 without any of the parts missing.

The original series stated that the original KITT was designed by Wilton Knight. The 2008 film says that Graiman had a major hand in designing the car and the AI, and was subsequently relocated to protect him and his family.


Although ratings for the movie were high, with Nielsen ratings reporting 10.0 million viewers watching NBC with 4.0/10 households tuning in,[8] Knight Rider was generally received poorly by media outlets. IGN gave the movie a rating of 5 out of 10 saying, "No one expects Knight Rider to be particularly thought-provoking or deep, but something a bit more enjoyable would certainly be appreciated next time."[9] Variety stated, "Unfortunately, even at 200 miles (320 km) an hour the times appear to have passed the concept by, and making “Knight Rider” road-worthy for further adventures will require more than just a tune-up."[10] The Los Angeles Times stated, "The two-hour (!) movie/pilot/extended Ford commercial crept by Sunday night like a glacier with turbo-revving sound effects. (No advance screeners were available, never a good sign.)"[11] Even with poor reviews, NBC captured first place within the 18-49 demographic. The movie averaged a viewership of 12.8 million viewers.[8]

Future of the sequel series

NBC commissioned a weekly series to debut during the 2008–2009 television season.[12] Gary Scott Thompson was brought on to show-run[13] and was committed to a two- year contract.[14] Filming on the season began June 23,[15] and the new series ran from September 24, 2008 to March 4, 2009 for just 17 episodes before being cancelled.


Two of the Shelby Mustangs used to portray KITT in the film were auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company's Collector Car Event, held in Palm Springs, Florida.[16] The cars sold as a pair for $300,000 to benefit Ford's "Salute to Education" scholarship program.


  1. ^ a b Adalian, Josef (2007-09-26). "NBC taps Liman for 'Knight Rider'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d Newgen, Alice (2008-01-25). "Bruening and Bartis on the New Knight Rider". Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  3. ^ "SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel | SCIFI.COM". Scifi.Com<!. Retrieved 2009-05-08. [dead link]
  4. ^ West, Kelly (2007-11-30). "Pictures Of Remake-Knight Rider's KITT Surface Online". Blend Television. Retrieved 2007-11-31. 
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2007-11-20). "Pair help KITT-start new 'Rider'". The Hollywood Reporter (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  6. ^ a b Adalian, Josef (2008-02-07). "Val Kilmer voices 'Knight Rider'". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  7. ^ a b c Tannert, Chuck (2007-12-20). "Under the Hood With Knight Rider 2.0: Trans Am vs. Ford Mustang (Featuring Exclusive New KITT Specs—and Classic Hasselhoff!)". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  8. ^ a b Seidman, Robert (2008-02-18). "Nielsen Ratings Sun Feb 17: CBS Losing Badly With Younger Audiences". Nielsen Media Research (TV by the Numbers). Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  9. ^ Goldman, Eric (2008-02-19). "Knight Rider: TV-Movie Review — KITT might have hit the wall on '80s nostalgia.". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  10. ^ Lowry, Brian (2008-02-18). "Variety Reviews Knight Rider". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  11. ^ McNamara, Mary (2008-02-19). "Knight Rider: The show is stuck in the '80s -- and it hasn't aged well.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  12. ^ Adalian, Josef (2008-03-30). "NBC offers escape with new slate". Variety. 
  13. ^ "Knight Rider' gets showrunner". Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Gary Scott Thompson — Part 2". Shadowy Flight. 
  15. ^ "principal photography on knight rider 2008 begins in two weeks". Shadowy Flight. 
  16. ^ "Barrett-Jackson helps raise over $1 million for charity during 2008 Palm Beach Collector Car Event" (Press release). Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. April 30, 2008. 

External links

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