Friday, June 17, 2011

"Knight and Day" (2010)

Starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Peter Sarsgaard
Written by Patrick O'Neill
Directed by James Mangold
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language

Knight and Day (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo+ Digital Copy)Oh, Tom Cruise... How difficult it is these days to watch your movies.  After Cruise's personal life suffered something of a meltdown, it's hard to separate Tom Cruise the man from Tom Cruise the actor.  But the truth is that when Cruise is really on, he totally owns the screen.

In "Knight and Day," Cruise plays Roy Miller a secret agent who bumps into hapless June Havens (Cameron Diaz) at the airport before their flight to Boston.  Unfortunately for June, the plane happens to be filled with CIA assassins trying to kill Miller.  They attack when June goes to the bathroom, forcing Miller to kill essentially the entire compliment of the plane, including both of the pilots.  June, obviously, freaks out when she discovers this upon returning from the bathroom.  Miller attempts to land the plane, but ends up crashing it in a field.

The next morning, June awakens in her apartment in Boston, with no idea how she got there.  She goes to a fitting for a dress for her sister's wedding (Maggie Grace), but there encounters another group of agents, this time led by Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) who insists that they're simply going to take June to a safe location.  Miller arrives just in time, rescuing June after a frantic car chase along I-93 in Boston.  But June, freaking out and not knowing who to trust, runs from Miller and finds her old boyfriend, Rodney (Marc Blucas).  Miller finds her once again, shooting Rodney in the leg and pretending to take June hostage for all the security cameras.

Miller reveals to June that Fitzgerald has gone rogue and framed Miller for stealing an experimental prototype battery the size of a AA Duracell that could power a small city all on its own.  Miller and June must locate the young genius that created the battery and get him to safety in order to clear Miller's name and expose Fitzgerald, who plans to sell the battery to an arms dealer named Antonio (Jordi Molia).

"Knight and Day" is kind of a mess of a movie, but it is pretty enjoyable.  There are a number of peppy, fun action sequences, and Cruise's charisma helps carry a lot of the scenes in between.  The whole thing is lightweight, brightly-colored nonsense - disposable summer fare at it's easiest.

June is the perfect role for Cameron Diaz, as it doesn't require her to delve too deeply into a character or really find any kind of true humanity.  She just has to look pretty and act kinda ditzy while explosions and gunfire are going off all around her, which she's actually quite good at.  While it's hard to believe that June and Roy really fall in love with each other, both actors are easy and even fun to watch.  It's really a fault of the script rather than anything having to do with Cruise or Diaz.

Cruise pours on the charm; Miller seems to always be having a good time, even when he and June are in mortal danger.  Miller won't go down in history as one of Cruise's iconic roles, but it is fun to watch and helps the movie go down easily, like adding a spoonful of sugar to your medicine.

The action sequences are mostly cool, though I have one minor complaint: the film's geography of greater Boston is a total mess.  Unless I missed something, the car chase on I-93 makes no sense.  It initially shows the caravan headed over the bridge away from Boston.  At that point, 93 North essentially has one big curve and then is a straight shot from Medford up to New Hampshire.  But the film shows all kinds of multiple levels of the highway and then ends in the tunnel.  It's not anything anyone would notice if they didn't travel that stretch of highway fairly regularly, and it won't ruin your enjoyment of the movie... I just couldn't help but notice it.

Anyhow, "Knight and Day" is a romantic action comedy that really doesn't aspire to be much more than it looks.  It's a pretty easy way to waste a couple hours, but it's probably not going to be anyone's favorite movie.  By the end of it, you'll wonder why it's even called "Knight and Day", but who cares?