The Dagger Games Project…

By Shawn Robare

Brian over at Cool & Collected decided to use a suggestion I offered as a League topic this week.  It dovetails nicely with the release of the Avengers flick in theaters, and centers on the idea of a great pop culture crossover between heroes or stories that we’d really like to see.  I’m not typically one that spends any energy on fan-fiction, but I have to admit that I had an idea that I would love to see come to fruition some day.  With all the 80s remakes and franchise re-launches getting produced, I think it’s the perfect time to revisit some films from the decade that that would really make sense having sequels 20-30 years later.  In fact, in the spirit of the Avengers and the idea of taking multiple films and combining them into one giant sequel, I thought it would be really cool to take three films that were unrelated except for concept and tone and bring them together in a modern setting that would be really interesting.

So what flicks and characters am I thinking about?  Well, Wargames, Cloak & Dagger, and The Manhattan Project.  Now bear with me for a second as I’m going to get a little fan-fic-y.  All three of these film are semi-serious thrillers that starred young kids playing around in the world of thermonuclear war and espionage…

Wargames featured Matthew Broderick as David, a young budding computer hacker who taps into a government computer system (nicknamed Joshua) thinking he was stealing unreleased copies of computer war games.  Turns out that Joshua takes his games very seriously, and David unwittingly ends up challenging the computer to a real life game of thermonuclear war.

In the Manhattan Project, we’re following Christopher Collet as Paul, a young genius who decides to build his own personal atomic bomb after realizing that a local pharmaceutical lab is really manufacturing weapons grade plutonium.  He takes it to a national science fair in the hope that he can shed some light on the dangers the lab presents and ends up starting the countdown to possible annihilation.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Cloak & Dagger, which stars a post E.T. Henry Thomas as Davey Osbourne, an overly imaginative boy obsessed with a fictional spy from a video game (Cloak & Dagger) named Jack Flack.  Davey stumbles upon a murder, and before he knows it the game becomes all too real.

So what’s my idea?

In a nutshell, my crossover film would find all three characters grown up and embroiled in plot that would have the world on the cusp of falling into another world war.  Maybe John Lithgow’s character from The Manhattan Project eventually gave in to his darker urges and sold his services as a weapons manufacturer to the highest bidder and was then double-crossed.  His weapons have been designed, built and delivered, but he was never paid and now seeks to bring down the evil regime that stiffed him.  He reaches out to an old friend, Dr. Stephen Falken (Joshua’s designer from Wargames), who puts him in contact with Broderick’s David (who now works for the government.)  David puts together a “Mission Impossible“-esque team including Paul (Collet) because of his ties to Lithgow’s character and experience with weapons of mass destruction.  Of course things get rocky when C.I.A agent David Osbourne (Thomas) butts in and takes control of the operation.  Will the two David’s be able to compromise long enough to stave off World War III?

The film would of course also feature Dabney Coleman (as he graced the screen in both Cloak & Dagger and Wargames), Ally Sheedy (Wargames), and Cynthia Nixon (The Manhattan Project), as well as other 80s kid/teen actors making cameos (I’m thinking some of the more obscure folks like Helen Slater, Robert Sean Leonard, Matt Adler, and Keith Gordon.)  Heck maybe even William Zabka would come out of his bully semi-retirement and play an unruly goverment spook.

Again, I’m not all that into the idea of fan-fiction, but I do think the idea of getting these actors together to reprise their roles from some very fun 80s kid-centric thrillers would be both entertaining and an interesting way to look at reboots and remakes.  Why simply retell the same story all the time when these franchises are brought back (ala Footloose, Red Dawn, or what have you.)  This way the studios get a chance to capitalize on the brand recognition while giving everyone something new.  I know I’d pay to see this in the theater, though I might be the only one.  Maybe they’d call it Project War-Dagger, or The War Cloak Takes Manhattan

Looking for some other fun pop culture cross-overs?  then check out these other League members:

Christopher, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about the never-filmed season finale crossovers of the A-Team and The Fall Guy!

Fiji Mermaid, Sideshow Cinema, would like to see the Predator take on Boba Fett!

Michael, Memories of Tomorrow, talks about, well, you have to read it to believe it!

  • Joseph – For sure! Up to an including breaking into systems that weren’t connected to any sort of network or by a phoneline. Osmosis hacking!

  • Fun idea. Computers were like magic wands in pop culture back then. Those clunky Apple 2’s and Commodore 64’s were made to seem more powerful than what’s out now!

  • Manny – I am utterly speechless. Bravo man, bravo. I was loving it when you had the thieves hole up with Boss Hog, but putting K.I.T.T. into the General Lee is a masterstroke!

  • Wow. This would be an awesome crossover! I’ve often dreamed of several crossovers of my favorites shows and movies. The one I thought worked best was a DUKES of HAZZARD meets KNIGHT RIDER. We’d start the episode out with K.I.T.T and Michael chasing a bunch of terrorists that have just stolen a death ray from secret military munitions bunker in Atlanta Georgia. As the terrorists try desperately to escape they end up driving through Hazzard County. The terrorists take a sharp turn and use the death ray to cause an avalanche blocking the road and K.I.T.T. behind them. Michael takes a detour and after a spectacular TURBO BOOST jump across the gorge they cut the terrorists off at the pass. Seemingly cornered they fire the Death Ray, a laser, right at K.I.T.T.’s well documented weakest point, his front mounted scanner! K.I.T.T. malfunctions and the criminals get away only to breakdown several miles down the road where Rosco offers them safe haven. Boss Hogg thinks he can set it up so that it looks like the Duke Boys have stolen the laser, a federal crime, that would have them sent away for quite a long time. Then he’ll double cross the terrorists and take the Death ray laser for himself so he can use it to excavate the DUKE farm for the precious oil that lies beneath. Well, Devin tells Michael he needs to find the terrorists and quickly as the core of the Death Ray is powered by a small nuclear reactor that will detonate if not deactivated in the next 24 hours. Devin tells Michael and a severely damaged KITT to head to town and that the local authorities will aid them in their quest to locate the terrorists who are obviously hiding somewhere in HAZZARD. Boss Hogg tries to convince Michael and K.I.T.T. that the DUKE boys are the terrorists he’s looking for. A chase ensues and some unfortunately well placed dynamite arrows takes an already damaged K.I.T.T. out. After some explaining Bo and Luke convince Michael that Boss Hogg is more crooked than the leaning tower of Pisa after an earthquake. The boys feeling really bad about what they did to Michael’s fancy talking car take him and what’s left of KITT to COOTER’s GARAGE. Cooter says he can’t even begin to figure out how to fix K.I.T.T.’s vehicular shell but he instead pulls KITT’s cpu out and temporarily installs it into the GENERAL LEE. Michael and the boys devise a plan that would require Daisy to distract some of the terrorists which have now taken Enos, Rosco and Boss Hogg as hostages at the Boars Nest as they await for back up to pick them and the death ray up. Michael and Daisy take all the henchmen down using a combination of sexiness and the laser in Michaels watch. But they are too late as the DEATH RAY suddenly begins to reach critical mass and a tiny digital clock begins to countdown. Enos professes his love to Daisy. Boss Hogg repents for treating Rosco like crap and framing the DUKE BOYS all these years. Rosco weeps as he holds Flash. Cut to the Duke boys and the General Lee now equipped with KITT in the dashboard need to race around Hazzard collecting chemical ingredients, minerals and metallic shielding that will keep the laser from going detonating. As the Duke boys start to head back to the BOARS nest they end up being chased down by the now arriving, second unit of terrorists. KITT’s radar can see them from a mile away and assists them in predicting where and when to turn. The DUKE boys pull off arial maneuvers that KITT deems impossible by the laws of physics. They bond! They finally make it to the boars nest in time with all the items needed except for one that UNCLE JESSE ends up bringing at the last second to save the day. When questioned as to where Uncle Jesse got the final piece he says he took it off of his MOON SHINE still in the woods. Everyone has a good laugh. Devin shows up in the KNIGHT INDUSTRIES 18 wheeler. BONNIE and COOTER exchange pleasantries about repairing vehicles as she installs KITT’s CPU in a newly repaired vehicular body. Michael hits on Daisy. Devin says there’s a reward for capturing the terrorists and just when he goes to give it to the DUKES, Boss Hogg tries to take credit and demands the reward is given to him. Michael says it’s in the passenger seat of the newly repaired KITT. KITT uses the ejector seat to launch Boss Hogg into the town fountain. Everyone chuckles. Devin takes a hit of Moonshine offered to him from Uncle Jesse and he turns bright red and freaks out. Everyone is happy. It writes itself really. What do ya think sirs?

  • Brian – I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. After a movie like Hackers, which seemed so high-tech and hip at the time, I can see Hollywood basically wanting to stay away from stuff with such a short shelf-life. We need another good Sneakers or something…

  • This is fantastic Shawn! It’s amazing to me how there haven’t been many good hacker movies made since the days of Wargames and Cloak and Dagger, considering we all live virtual lives these days. I wonder if Hollywood is afraid of the internet and what might happen if they screwed up with a poorly written movie.

  • Michael – Thanks! These three are like missing pieces of a larger puzzle…

  • I loved this !! Cloak and Dagger was one of my faves as a kid!! BRAVO!

  • Paxton – Thanks man. Yeah, this is what I had in the back of my mind when I suggested the topic to Brain. When I was conceiving it, it just felt right. Glad that comes across…

  • I just read this for like the third time. Brilliance. I almost don’t want to write my own because this sums up perfectly the entire crossover subject. And mine will suck compared to this. Well. Done. Shawn.

  • Paxton – LOL! I know, right! It just fits, and there has to be better filmwork for Broderick than stuff like Tower Heist…

  • Christopher – I just rewatched Cloak & Dagger and The Manhattan Project. I need to stick in Wargames (as well as read the novelizations of Manhattan and Wargames.) I wish there were more semi-serious kid-centric thrillers these days…

  • O. M. G. Shawn, I think I need a new pair of pants.

  • Well done! I think these three would be go perfectly with each other. I havent seen these in years, now I want to rewatch them!