Six Million Dollar Man: The MovieSeptember 26, 2008
I was wrecked in a car crash a few years back, which left me with artificial parts – steel screws, rods, a teflon joint – in my legs. I’m lucky to be able to walk, and I’m grateful for that, but something always makes me think: How come I can’t jump over houses, in slow motion? Why can’t I run as fast as a car … also in slow motion? And why hasn’t there been a Six Million Dollar Man movie?
The idea got started a few times, but sputtered quickly. There was talk of a Jim Carrey version, and one with Chris Rock called the Six Billion Dollar Man. I like those guys okay, but casting either one of them as Col. Steve Austin gives you a sense of where producers have been wanting to take this franchise. Actually, the Chris Rock script had him as a scrawny dope-smoking airport baggage handler with a big mouth who becomes a bionic super-soldier and … never mind, it’s painful to think about. It reminds me of how I felt when I heard Jack Black was going to be Green Lantern: two seconds of “What the -” followed by a bad word.
They tried to remake The Bionic Woman for TV last year. It was more than a bit shit. We’re done talking about that.
But I should say this: I was a Steve Austin kid. In the mid-70s, life was all about Steve Austin, Planet of the Apes and Star Trek. (This is just before Star Wars changed everything). And also Evel Knievel. But man, Steve Austin was the business.
The Six Million Dollar Man was developed from a TV movie based on the novel Cyborg, by Martin Caidin. The movie is not much like the book, and the TV series is not much like the movie. In Cyborg, Austin is a bionic assassin with a finger that shoots bullets; people who remember the TV show know that’s not THEIR Steve Austin. Actually, Caidin always wrote ‘bionics,’ not ‘bionic,’ so Austin had ‘bionics legs.’ Sounds stupid.
Aside from a handful of TV movies of varying quality in the late 80s and early 90s (one of which starred Sandra Bullock as the new Bionic Woman), Steve Austin has been absent from the screen. You can’t even get it on DVD. You can get Growing Pains, sure, and The Nanny, but not Steve Austin.
So bring him back. How hard can it be? The beauty of the concept is the producers aren’t tied to the idea of casting a new Austin who looks like Lee Majors. This isn’t Star Trek, where the look of the characters is burned into fanboy psyches like a tattoo of a beer logo on Amy Winehouse’s inner thigh. It’s more like I Spy, or Starsky and Hutch. Close enough counts. Wait – those sacks of suck both starred Owen Wilson. Note to producers: Don’t cast Owen Wilson.
Oh, now you know they will.