- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
uch has been made of Tom Cruise’s media antics over the last few years, but no matter how much we might hate him in his private life, Cruise continues to dazzle us in his professional life. He’s one of the most magnetic movie stars on the planet, and after showing audiences that he could still have a little fun with his scene-stealing cameo in “Tropic Thunder,” Cruise has continued his crusade to reclaim his spot atop the Hollywood A-list with “Knight and Day,” a lighthearted spin on Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" that reteams him with his “Vanilla Sky” co-star, Cameron Diaz. Unfortunately, while all signs pointed toward the film being a refreshing slice of big, dumb summer fun (something that Joe Carnahan's "The A-Team" does almost too well), “Knight and Day” is an uneven action-comedy that too often trips over its own potential.
Diaz plays June Havens, a vintage car restorer on her way back to Boston for her sister’s wedding when she bumps – not once, not twice, but three times – into a charming stranger named Roy Miller (Cruise) at the airport. June figures it’s just a coincidence, and even shares a brief heart-to-heart with him while they wait for their plane to take off, but after returning from the bathroom to discover that Roy has killed everybody onboard (including the pilots), she barely escapes with her life. Roy tells her that he’s a CIA agent gone rogue in order to protect the scientist (Paul Dano) responsible for inventing a powerful new energy source, but when the agents (Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis) tasked with stopping Roy tell her otherwise, June must decide who to trust as she gets entangled in a globe-trotting game of cat-and-mouse.
The script does a fairly good job of keeping Roy’s allegiance a mystery for most of the movie, but it’s all for naught, because if Tom Cruise was the villain, you’d know it going in. This is someone who is so insecure about his height that directors have to constantly find creative ways of making him look taller alongside his female co-stars, and if Cruise ever hopes to win back his fans, you better believe he’s going to do it as the good guy. Equal parts Jerry Maguire and Ethan Hunt, Roy Miller probably won’t go down as one of the actor’s more memorable characters, but it’s definitely better with him in the role. Cameron Diaz isn’t quite as essential, but she's just as charismatic, and her chemistry with Cruise is the only reason the movie works as long as it does.
But it doesn’t last forever, and although it starts off on a high note, “Knight and Day” never regains the playful energy of the opening airport meet-cute or subsequent highway car chase. Instead, director James Mangold becomes so overwhelmed in his attempt to constantly up the stakes with cool backdrops and crazy action sequences that he loses track of what made the film so enjoyable in the beginning. It’s one thing to waste talent like Sarsgaard, Dano and Davis, but Cruise and Diaz are the key to the film’s success, and the minute they’re no longer fun to watch, “Knight and Day” deflates like a beach ball in the hot summer sun. It’s certainly a tale of two halves, because while the first hour is filled with witty banter and charming performances, the second is a dull exercise in action-comedy clichés. Wouldn’t you know it, they’re like night and day.
Three-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
“Knight and Day” limps onto Blu-ray with a lackluster collection of bonus material. The included stunt featurette is the only extra of any real interest, although you'll also find another featurette on location shooting, backstage footage of Tom Cruise and the Black Eyed Peas debuting the movie's end credits song at a concert after-party, a pair of goofy viral videos, and two short EPKs that recycle many of the same interviews. Rounding out the set is a DVD and digital copy of the film, but you probably already knew that.