Knight And Day

Knight And Day


Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Two über-A-listers alone do not themselves a great film make. We know it, surely they know it. So if everyone knows it ...

Tom Cruise has delivered estimable action films and likes to flex his comedy chops. Cameron Diaz has played smart laughs and high-kicked through, well, Charlie’s Angels. Smashing the two together in a slick action comedy romance seems such a stark, first-base obvious and clunking idea. Just the thought is enough to make you sense the inevitable mess looming.

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Cruise plays Roy Miller, a super-spy going AWOL for the good of the planet, when he runs into Diaz’s June Haven at the airport. She’s a single, slightly kooky car mechanic with a flashing signpost of a name. Romantic tingles start and soon she’s whisked off to exotic locations and embroiled in a violent double-dealing conspiracy chasing after a new type of perpetual battery.

And no one really cares that much. So if no one really cares that much …

The tone is set when their initial flirtation is stitched into Cruise’s first crunching exchange with baddie assassins. It’s a fair attempt but everything just slightly miscues, sapping the action’s pace and foot-faulting the comedy’s timing. It’s much the same for the rest of the movie, despite some game mugging and tongue-in-cheek nods to the action genre.

Cruise has been telling the world that powering a bike while a girl on his lap shoots at their pursuers is a sequence he’d wanted to get into a movie for a long time. Finally he’s pulled it off. There’s a lot going on in that little lot, but the anecdote serves to underline Knight And Day’s greatest fault. This is foremost a series of highly polished, nonsensical set pieces all but strung together with fraying twine and some obligatory shots of Cruise sprinting at full pelt.

The one exception is when Roy first abducts June, by doping her for the travelling. She wakes up intermittently to blearily find herself parachuting through the sky, being kidnapped and seeing Miller in dire straits hanging from the ceiling. It literally shows the action film from a new perspective.

Diaz has little to work with most of the time with but gives her all in the would-be humorous moments. Cruise handles the action with practised ease and tries to give Roy some dubious depths, hoping we’ll question whether he’s more suspect than knight, or unhinged. It’s never in doubt, though. Cruise and Diaz were last together in Vanilla Sky and then they didn’t sizzle for many audiences. Similarly, here they just don’t ignite each other. It all feels too professional, too clean, too choreographed. You get the impression they may have had more fun making this than we have watching it (the fatal Ocean’s 12 flaw). This pair are outgunned, out-smarted and out-sassed by Mr & Mrs Smith.

Paul Dano and Peter Sarsgaard are absolutely wasted in microfilm-thin supporting roles. Dano enjoys himself, but Sarsgaard can’t seem to get past his self-disgust at taking the money and running.

Cruise, Diaz and director James Mangold (3:10 To Yuma, Copland) can deliver so much more. Now that they’ve got such flimflammery out of their systems, maybe we’ll get to enjoy it next time.

Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2010
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Knight And Day packshot
A car mechanic finds herself on the run with an AWOL Superspy.
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Director: James Mangold

Writer: Patrick O'Neill

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Mollà, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Falk Hentschel, Marc Blucas, Lennie Loftin, Maggie Grace, Rich Craig, Dale Dye, Celia Weston, Gal Gadot, Jack O'Connell

Year: 2010

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

Mr & Mrs Smith