Knight & Day (12A)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard
Director: James Mangold
Running time: 109mins
When compiling a list of ‘movie stars’ two of the names that would jump right to the top of the list are those of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and whilst it is fair to say that neither are any longer at the peak of their career at 48 and 37 respectively they are still enough to base a film around… but perhaps not completely which is what, to an extent, this film does.
How much you enjoy this film completely depends on what attitude you take towards it: over in the states where it was released back in June it was almost universally slated as being incredibly poor in almost all areas (apart from interestingly the soundtrack) and received large amounts of criticism for relying completely on the laurels of the two main actors and ignoring things like a good plot, or building the characters.
Over in here in the UK it has hardly been welcomed with open arms — I watched it two days after it was released and then the number of people in the cinema could be counted on my hands — but I will be more than happy to go against the grain and down on record as saying that it was a good film, and that I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Before I explain why, a little about the film: it follows the story of June Havens who (literally) bumps into the mysterious but evidently quite attractive Roy Miller in a Kansas airport and as they are on the same flight they start their own mildly flirtatious talking. Things then start to get a little strange as, in the time it takes June (Cameron Diaz) to do her makeup in the plane toilets, Roy (Tom Cruise) kills the rest of the crew and sets the plane to land in a field presumably somewhere near their destination of Boston.
As it transpires Roy Miller is (or rather ‘was’) as secret agent who it is claimed went AWOL along with a ‘perpetual power source battery’ code named the Zephyr which of course Roy Miller denies and thus traps the unwitting June in a world of fast cars, guns and of course bad guys who can’t shoot for toffee.
It is worth saying that the criticism that the film has received is not completely unfounded: some of the characters are woefully underdeveloped, most notably the genius behind the battery Simon Feck who is played by Paul Dano who’s whole personality and background is summed up by the fact that he is clever and likes steam trains and Hall & Oates. We are left to assume that he is like any other genius in an action film, which is something you also have to apply to the two ‘bad guys’ one of which is, of course, an arms dealer.
It is not meant to be taken seriously at all; you know from the start what is going to happen and the twists that aren’t given away in the trailer are not so much hidden as explained throughout the rest of the film. It is almost a tongue-in-cheek version of James bond with the indestructible super-spy and a serious of dispensable bad guy, only with a shallower main character and poorer CGI (which is pretty awful in this film).
In fact there are so many parts of the film that seem to have been copied-and-pasted that it’s almost like a montage of action movies in the last decade: the main character is called Roy Miller (the same as in Green Zone), there are motorbike chases through cities, there is Tom Cruise wearing a Mission Impossible-esque outfit, there are a host of corny one liners that you’ve probably heard before and there is a nice love story in the middle.
I personally found it a very enjoyable movie to watch simply because it was so easy to do so and in contrast to films like Inception, one could just sit back and be entertained. The action scenes that were there were good, Cruise and Diaz do work incredibly well together and you get to have a nice look at the cities of Seville and Salzburg which goes to show that films haven’t forgotten the European romance.
Yes it has its flaws — at one point it is decisively claimed that the Sun is a perpetual power source, and the title seems to bear very little relevance to the film — and yes in a year’s time you will probably have forgotten that you watched this film at all, but for the 109mins that it runs I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy yourself, and come out with a smile on your face!