Well we’re in popcorn movie season and Knight and Day aspires to do no more than fit that bill. In it we have the return of Tom Cruise to the role of movie action hero for the first time since Mission Impossible III, and as a sidekick we’re given Cameron Diaz (whose last film other than playing the voice of Fiona in the Shrek films was awful movie The Box).
Cruise plays Roy Miller, a fellow with “skills” – and we don’t really know if he’s a good guy, a bad guy, or a good guy posing as a bad guy. We’re introduced to him (all cool and suave) at the airport, and as a counterpoint we are then shown Diaz’ character June Havens, who seems to be oh-so-average with a bit of klutzy thrown in. He bumps into her seemingly by mistake, they exchange pleasantries and part ways only to bump into each other again before boarding a plane.
There’s some spy-stuff stuff afoot with Miller being watched by some guys who seem to be government agents. It seems that June wasn’t going to be able to get on the full flight, but the agents assume something is up between her and Roy and that it’s not happenstance that they bumped into each other twice. Last minute she gets on the plane and Roy is not too happy about it.
Turns out the plane is almost empty, apparently it was booked up by the government except for a few passengers. As an aside, in light of this it seems extremely odd that she would be able to book a ticket on that flight in the first place. Anyway, some light conversation develops between June and Roy, and as charming as he is she soon warms up to him. She heads off to the bathroom to freshen up and while she’s gone major mayhem ensues between Roy and the other men on the plane. When she returns, she throws herself at him in a fit of impulsiveness and it takes her a while to figure out just what exactly happened while she was in the bathroom.
Well Cruise is his usual charming (yes, I realize I keep using that word) and confident self and keeps her calm in what would be a very unnerving situation. Upon landing he warns her that some people from the government might come looking for her and if they do that she is NOT to trust them. NEVER get in a vehicle with them, he says, and the more they tell you that they’re taking you to a secure location where you’ll be safe, the more you can be certain that they’re going to kill you.
They get separated and of course the men in dark suits and black vehicles show up and ask her to get in the car. This is on a busy city street. Does she try to run? No. Does she cry out to passers-by for help? No. Does she quietly get into the car? Yes. Is she an idiot? Yes indeedy.
Eventually he’s got to rescue her, apparently because he has a heart of gold and she was brought into this situation by mistake. They ended up joined at the hip (so to speak) and go from one adventure/chase scene to the next as Roy tries to stay ahead of those who are on his tail.
There are car chases, motor cycle chases, gun battles, hand to hand fighting, exotic locales, etc. All the requisite items you’d hope to see in a summer blockbuster. Tom Cruise is, for me, usually fun to watch on screen and he is so here. This is the sort of role he plays so well: Cocky, devil-may-care and supremely able to handle any situation that comes his way. He’s what we want an action hero to be, and it’s great seeing him in this sort of role once again.
On the other hand we have Cameron Diaz… from the first few minutes that she’s on screen I found myself thinking “I really, really wish they had cast someone else in her role.” As in other films in which she’s appeared, she just seems shallow and one-dimensional. There doesn’t seem to be a millimeter of depth to her character, and to make things worse her character is completely annoying. I get what they were trying to convey – the “fish out of water” that ends up being funny through her reactions to what is happening around her. Unfortunately she was just annoying instead – picture Kate Capshaw’s supremely annoying character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Indy 2) and you’ll be on the right track. Overall her presence in the film was enough to seriously detract from my enjoyment of it, even just on the level of a popcorn action flick.
Director James Mangold keeps the action going, almost sensing that he’d better not allow the audience to get bored or to spend too much time getting deep into the characters. Considering I didn’t want to spend much time with one of them, I had no problem with his work.
If Cameron Diaz doesn’t bother you and you’re a fan of Tom Cruise as action hero, then you’ll probably enjoy Knight and Day. If you’re looking for an action movie with a little meat on its bones or aren’t a fan of either actor, give it a pass or save it for a rental.
If you want to talk about the film in depth without worrying about spoiling for folks who haven’t seen it, head over to our Knight and Day spoilers discussion.
Here’s a trailer for Knight and Day: