Monday, November 06, 2023

Another Reimagined Dud?

Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, but my patience with classic crime TV series and films being revamped for modern audiences has grown thin. Spenser Confidential with Mark Wahlberg? Blah! Ironside with Blair Underwood? Boring! Hawaii Five-0 being turned into a buddy comedy … er, “action police procedural” starring Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan? Yeah, it ran for 10 seasons on CBS, but I bailed after a couple of episodes only. And two Shaft films in the last 20 years, neither better than lame? Don’t jive me, man!

So imagine my delight at learning that there’s a brand-new, big-screen adaptation of The Fall Guy on its way to theaters. The original, 1981-1986 ABC-TV series starred Lee Majors as movie stunt man Colt Seavers, who moonlighted as a bounty hunter. The Glen A. Larson-developed concept sounds dubious, I’ll grant you, but the program had some good things going for it. Majors didn’t try to be too much of a tough guy, and now and then he demonstrated genuine comedic talents. Backing him up were regulars Douglas Barr as Seavers’ love-starved cousin and stuntman-in-training, Howie “Kid” Munson; and the pin-up-pretty Heather Thomas playing stuntwoman Jody Banks. Plus, the show recruited skilled directors such as Russ Mayberry, Paul Mason, and Lawrence Dobkin (who may be better recalled for delivering the weekly closing line on ABC’s Naked City: “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”).

Back in 2009, Illinois film and TV critic Marty McKee mused in his blog Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot, “With all of the remakes going on in Hollywood these days, I truly cannot believe nobody is considering doing a new version of The Fall Guy.” Well, since then, there’s been at least one attempt to produce a film from the series, perhaps with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the lead role. But it went nowhere.

(Right) The Fall Guy in TV Guide’s Fall 1981 preview edition. Click to enlarge.

It fell ultimately to Ryan Gosling—one of my least favorite Hollywood actors—to actually deliver an action-comedy movie revamp, directed by David Leitch (Bullet Train). According to In Reference to Murder, the picture finds Gosling’s Seavers “fresh off a nearly career-ending accident, and his next gig just happens to be a film directed by his ex, Jody Moreno (played by Emily Blunt). But Colt’s efforts to rekindle their romance take a turn when the movie’s mega-action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing. Now, Colt has to perform some of the most dangerous stunts of his career and try to solve the mystery of Tom’s disappearance.” If you can bear the thought of watching a trailer, you’ll find one here.

The Fall Guy is scheduled to reach U.S. theaters on May 3, 2024. Don’t expect to see me in line waiting to buy tickets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When I originally posted this, the film’s release date was March 1, 2024. It has since been delayed by two months.


Unknown said...

Perhaps the best thing about the original show was the theme song, written by Glen Larson who was an original member of the Four Preps before he became a TV producer.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I am no fan of his either, but I have seen a trailer that did interest me a little bit. I never go to the movies and just do the streaming thing, or via the library, so I probably will watch at least some of it that way at some point.

Mark Baker said...

My hope with the movie is that we will get more of the TV show on DVD. Right now, we just have the first season. I was hoping the movie would be worth watching, but the trailer left me less than impressed.