Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knight and Day: Everything Happens For a Reason

I usually take pages of notes during a movie to assist in writing the review; in the case of "Knight and Day," it wasn't necessary.  "Knight and Day" is an action adventure film with a little romance and stars Tom Cruise ("Mission Impossible") as Roy Miller, a super spy who supposedly went rogue, and Cameron Diaz ("Charlie’s Angels") as June Havens, a classic car restorer.  The two bump into each other at the airport, and that’s where the fun begins.  I didn't write a lot during the movie for two reasons; first a lot happens so fast (it’s hard to write in the dark); and most of what happens is classic "Mission Impossible" and or "Charlie’s Angels" plot and action adventure.  Most folks, who come to see this picture, will either come to see Cruise; or they come for Diaz and if you go for either; you won't be disappointed.

"Knight and Day" is more complicated than the "Killers," released earlier this year, with more plot twists and turns in the first half of the movie than the "Killers" had throughout the whole film.  June Havens (Diaz) is on her way to her sister’s wedding and for some reason is carrying spare parts for a vintage car she is restoring.  Before going through security, she runs into to Roy Miller (Cruise).  The audience is given a third-person point of view of the run-in via some FBI operatives watching on the security cameras.  After going through security and having all her car parts inspected by airport workers the two bumps into each other again.  FBI agent Fitzgerald played by the ever-so-charming bad guy Peter Sarsgaard (Flight Plan) decides that the airplane flight booked exclusively for Cruises character in an attempt to kill or capture him, to allow Diaz's character June to come aboard.  During the flight, the spies take action while June is in the bathroom and Miller kills all aboard including the pilots.  Cruise and Diaz are tied together for the rest of the movie like, well, night and day.  The actual plot revolves around a battery hidden in a tiny medieval knight statue. Designed by a genius kid out of high school by the name of Simon Feck played by Paul Dano ("There Will Be Blood"), the battery can light up a small city, and, therefore, is of significant value to the wrong side, whoever that may be.

It’s been along time Tom Cruise has starred in a comedy ("Tropic Thunder" doesn't count), and now that he is back, I think he should hang out a while before going back to action drama.  The thing I noticed about Cruise is his maturity, in the way he played the over the top spy character Roy Miller.  Cameron Diaz is not a superspy in this film, and although her romantic comedy days are not quite finished yet, she also seemed confident in her acting abilities rather than just eye candy.  Cruise and Diaz seemed together seemed to have more chemistry than Kutcher and Heigl in the "Killers."  The chemistry works because of the relationship built since Diaz and Cruise's last movie together, Vanilla Sky.  Not coming off as cocky at all in this film, it is difficult to see how Cruise's character develops throughout the film.  Usually Cruise's characters start as arrogant smart-asses with a chip on his shoulder; then Tom is taught some lessons in life; then his characters have an epiphany of some sort, and Tom Cruise's characters go from being a jerk to being likeable.  For example, check out any films from the 80's like "Top Gun," "Days of Thunder," "The Color of Money," and "Rain Man," as they all have the formulaic Tom Cruise character development.  We even get a glimpse of Tom as he adjusts his sunglasses directly into the camera a-la "Risky Business."

Director James Mangold's last action film includes 2007's "3:10 to Yuma," which was a fast-paced western remake.  In "Knight and Day," Mangold seems to partially remaking "Mission Impossible's" action scenes while trying to recreate the character development that he got while making "Walk the Line."  This may partially be because of the script delivered by the film’s writer of credit, Patrick O'Neill, which although contains many more twists and comic one-liners, and seems to be more in line with an Indiana Jones film than anything Mangold has directed to date.  In some ways, O'Neill's script seems to mock both Cruise and Diaz in subtle ways, like the "Risky Business" scene I mentioned earlier.  In some scenes, Diaz has that "Charlie's Angels" look about her just under the surface of her "Sweetest Thing" persona.  Giving the characters a break in the action scenes to develop both their characters and eventually a relationship made this film easier to swallow in the story development department.  I liked "Knight and Day: mostly because the light-hearted story moves quickly, making the two hours I spent at the movies left me excited and hopeful that the film’s two stars still have long careers ahead of them.

Movie Data
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance
Year:  2010
Staring:  Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi MollĂ , Viola Davis, Paul Dano 
Director: James Mangold
Producer(s): Todd Garner, Cathy Konrad, Steve Pink
Writer: Patrick O'Neill
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: 6/23/20110
Originally published on Associated Content on 6/24/2010 by Robert Barbere

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