Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rare Flix: Nick Knight

Hey, did you know that this was a thing?  Seriously, did you?  In 1992, a show called Forever Knight captured the hearts of weirdos everywhere.  While it ran until 1996 and has become a cult hit on DVD/Laserdisc, its roots go back a bit further.  They go all the way back to...three years earlier in a CBS Made-For-TV movie.  This is the back-door pilot for the show, you see, but doesn't feature Geraint-Wyn Davies.  No, instead, they got Rick Springfield.  Yes, they cast a former-Musician and Soap Opera Actor instead of the veteran Character Actor.  Is it any wonder that it took three years to get the show made and on the air?  For those who didn't watch the show,- probably a lot of you- I'll give you the gist of the plot.  Nick Knight is a cop in Los Angeles, but he's also a vampire.  They really don't do much of a background check, huh?  There are more strange plot explanations to come, so buckle up.  Get out your lazy special effects gimmick for my review of...
The film begins with long shot of a helicopter flying over the city.  While you would think that this is just establishing footage, you'd be sorely-mistaken.  I'll get to this in a bit though.  A man guarding an art museum is attacked after a few minutes of stalling by an unseen creature that attacks P.O.V. style.  So yeah, that aerial footage was actually a creature flying around the city.  The guard is killed and his blood has been drained, making it the fourth in a series of 'vampire murders.'  In addition, a mysterious goblet was stolen- which is important later.  This brings in Nick Knight, a cop who works the night shift and...that's it.  Yeah, there's nothing suspicious here at all.  He's teamed up with a sarcastic cop, since that's more important than his actual experience or qualifications.  They look into the case, while Nick looks into the woman who works at the museum.  We see Nick in his home life and he's...drinking blood.  What?  I totally didn't see that coming, except for the fact that it's the entire premise.  We also see that he has a goblet that seems to be a match for the stolen.  Wait- maybe he's the killer, except that his name is the title of the film, so he's obviously not.  Meanwhile, the woman looks into the history of the object and sees a man at the dig who looks like Nick.
The cops get called into action on a separate case, setting up an action scene to tide you over until the plot picks up.  A man holds a woman hostage until she runs off.  However, he manages to shoot Nick and make him fall into a pool.  However, he pops out of the pool in a silly effect- by the way, he can fly- and tosses the man into a sign.  Helicopters fly by and he leaves, but the police suspect nothing.  Of course, the man threw himself into the sign!  He flies over to the museum- another non-effect- and tries to make-out with the woman.  This ends when he nearly bites her- cue another cheesy vampire effect- and he escapes Batman-style.  The woman looks more into his past as we finally get a bit of a hint as to how Nick keeps his secret.  You see, the police department's chief pathologist is in on the man's secret.  Of course, that explains why they...wait, no, it doesn't!  Anyhow, our hero talks about how he wants to become human again and how he needs both goblets to do so, but someone stole it.  Could it be the 800 year-old vampire who turned him?  Gee, that's a possibility!  He goes to a bar and speaks to a woman in French, since he lived there at one point.  Good, now I've seen the guy who sang 'Jessie's Girl' speak French- I have lived!  The lady from the museum has followed him, but he quickly dissuades her from thinking that he's a vampire.  Yeah, this will be pointless in five minutes...
After hijacking a radio station, the vampire calls out Nick.  They have a big 'speech-off,' which the woman sees.  Oh good, she knows your secret that you hid for...five minutes.  A silly fight off breaks out between the two men, which favors the villain.  However, it turns against him again, with him narrowly-escaping due to the rising sun.  Nick hides in his trunk, ending up being driven to a convenient plot point at a hospital.  This leads us to a plot thread with a medical technician helping the vampire, which comes into play for about two minutes before the ending.  The woman from the museum presses Nick for more information, but doesn't get much.  You've got to save some stuff for the series, honey!  All of this leads to a final battle between Nick and his former vampire pal.  It takes place at Nick's hideaway- in an abandoned movie theater- when the vampire's lackey shows up, as well as a witness to a previous vampire attack.  Nick loses the fight again, since he hasn't feasted on blood in a while.  The woman offers herself to him, but he the bad guy just kills her.  Oh yeah, the lackey gets killed almost the moment that the vampire arrives.  Nick gets angry and defies the story's logic to kill the vampire, causing him to melt away.  In the aftermath, Nick and company walk off...only for one of them to turn into a blond Canadian three years later.  The End.
This movie is...not that good.  The whole premise is full of holes, to be honest.  Seriously, Nick is a cop who only works at night and lives in an unlisted residence.  Nobody asks questions about this?  Don't they have background checks here?  Furthermore, the film establishes that he's moved from town to town to cover his immortality.  Of course, a guy with no record shows up and you just buy into his story!  Aside from that, the movie has some decent action moments, but they're ruined by the silly make-up work.  I get that you were going for a Lost Boys look- since it was recent at the time- but you just failed.  This thing makes the 'Klingon Vampires' from Buffy look respectable!  Not even counting the cheap non-effect for the flying vampires, there's really not a lot here to offer.  That said, some of the humor is good and you can do worse.  It's an interesting piece of film and TV history though, even if it is not all that similar to the show.  Check it out, cinephiles!
Next up, a '90s action film that made an appearance in VHS For The Win.  Will the actual film live up to the hype?  Stay tuned...

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