Review: Knight & Day
PLOT: June (Cameron Diaz), an ordinary, thirty something woman on her way to her sisters wedding, finds her life turned upside down after a chance encounter with Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), a spy on the run from rival agents and an army of assassins.
REVIEW: Thank God for KNIGHT & DAY. To say this has been a disappointing summer would be a massive understatement but the trailers made this look like a fun action./comedy. It helps that this stars Tom Cruise, who, despite his bad PR and Scientology shenanigans over the last few years, doesnt really make bad movies. Sure enough, KNIGHT & DAY is another great Tom Cruise vehicle, and hopefully the start of a new trend that may salvage the summer.
KNIGHT & DAY is a step into more lighthearted territory for Cruise, with this playing out like a comedic version of COLLATERAL, mixed with MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE. Roy Miller is a great new character for Cruise, which allows him to both show off the comedic chops we saw him display in TROPIC THUNDER, yet at the same time not stray too far from the action heavy films his been making over the last decade or so. Imagine a slightly insane, lovesick version of Ethan Hunt, and youve pretty much got what hes going for here. Luckily, this combination works, and Millers a very likable spy.
Helping matters enormously is that Cruise is paired with Cameron Diaz. In all honesty, Diaz has never been on of my favorites. I hated the CHARLIES ANGELS films, and her recent run of films has been just dreadful (with the exception of THE BOX although Im probably the only person on this site who actually liked it). That said, Cruise and Diaz have great chemistry (the previously paired up in VANILLA SKY), and they make a good looking, likable couple on-screen.
Diaz plays a pretty average gal (with a really cool job restoring muscle cars), and she shows off some great comic chops of her own in some of the action scenes where she struggles to keep up with Cruise, although I thought they made her a tad too proficient in the big climactic motorcycle chase. I loved the recurring gag that has Miller drugging her every time things get a little too intense, especially during a sequence that shows flashes of a particularly elaborate escape including a boat chase, and a sky diving. It should also be said, Diaz still looks great in a bikini.
A lot of credit is also due to director James Mangold. Hes a rock solid director, with WALK THE LINE, 3:10 TO YUMA and now this making an extremely solid run of films. It helps that he also knows how to construct an action scene, unlike most action directors to come along lately. KNIGHT & DAY is a much better action flick than THE A-TEAM, and I hope they give Mangold a big property to direct next, as hes got the goods to make a great action director. No quick cutting here, although the pyrotechnics get a bit of a CGI boost, which I suppose is unavoidable these days. Theres loads of great action scenes, including some well staged, hand-to-hand combat aboard a crashing airplane, and a nifty warehouse shootout.
The only areas where KNIGHT & DAY comes off a little weak is in the villains department. Peter Sarsgaard, normally an incredible actor, is bland here. For some reason, he also adopts a Boston accent in some scenes, but ditches it in the next. Paul Dano also overdoes it a little as the scientist Cruise is supposed to be protecting. Danos a talented guy, but I find he does have the propensity to overact, and thats the case here (someone should have told him this is a rom-com, not THERE WILL BE BLOOD). The story is also a little weak but who cares? Its all about the chemistry between Diaz and Cruise, with everything else just serving as the MacGuffin.
I really enjoyed KNIGHT & DAY, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun flick. Its like a spy version of ROMANCING THE STONE, and it destroys the similarly themed MR & MRS. SMITH, and also (I assume) KILLERS. Hopefully this will put Cruise back on top where he belongs, and bump Mangold onto the A-List.
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