Saturday, July 17, 2010

KNIGHT AND DAY (2010)

Written by Patrick O'Neill


Directed by James Mangold


Where & When: Quality Cinemas, Canton, MI.  July 6, 2010 2:00PM



Tom Cruise is back.

Although he wasn't necessarily missed but he is back with Cameron Diaz, his co-star in "Vanilla Sky" (2001) , the really bad remake of a really good Spanish film, "Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos)" (1997), in "Knight and Day", a film that tries to mix together action, comedy, thrills, mystery and romance but just ends up with a loud and incoherent mess.

I have to give the film a little credit as it's an original summer movie and not an unnecessary sequel or a pointless remake, which I realize is a very sad statement to make.

It begins at the airport in Wichita, where June Havens (Cameron Diaz) is trying to catch a plane after purchasing parts for a Pontiac GTO when she smashes into a charming and handsome man named, Roy (Tom Cruise). There is an instant attraction between them but she continues on through airport security.

While preparing to board the plane, she slams in to Roy again. After the apologies, they engage in flirty small talk before June is informed that she has been bumped from the flight. She begs to get on because she has to get back for a dress fitting for her sister's wedding but it's of no use. She watches as Roy boards the plane.

CIA agent Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) has been surveying the whole situation and thinks she's working with Roy and has her placed back on the airplane.

When June gets on the flight, there are only a handful of people on the 747. She thinks it's a little odd but she doesn't question it. June soon gets back to flirting with Roy before excusing herself to go to the restroom. While she is away, all of the passengers of the plane begin to attack Roy with assorted weapons but he effortlessly takes each one of them down including the pilots.

June returns to her seat completely unaware of what has happened. Roy calmly explains to her that everyone on board is dead and they are going to have to land the plane themselves. She just thinks he's joking at first until she sees the seated bodies shifting on to the floor as the plane starts to head straight down.

After surviving a crash landing without a scratch, Roy has some explaining to do. He tells June that he is a CIA agent on the run from both the CIA and a Spanish arms dealer who both want, for very different reasons, a powerful battery, and it's up to Roy to make sure it doesn't fall in to the wrong hands but what if Roy's hands are wrong?

Poor June doesn't know what to do or who to believe but Roy has gotten her involved in this and if she wants to stay alive, she will have to trust him and stay by his side.

Roy drags June with him as they are chased, shot at, tortured, have missiles fired at and nearly trampled by bulls all the while traveling around many glamorous locations like Austria, Spain, and Kansas.

"Knight and Day" (which was originally called "Wichita" which is a slightly better title) is fun, high energy and action packed which is what people expect of their summer movies but when it tries to give us more, this is where the film runs in to little trouble.

Although the story in very convoluted, the script actually has a few well written moments scattered throughout but they are overshadowed by the monotonous, over the top action sequences and bad attempts at humor that just throws the film's tone too much out of balance. It really didn't work that well in "Mr & Mrs. Smith"(2005) either, which is that film's style that this is unsuccessfully trying to emulate but at least it had the sexual chemistry of Brad and Angelina while "Knight and Day" has a game Ms Diaz but a sexless Mr.Cruise which equals zero in the chemistry department.

The leads bring out all of their charisma and star quality that we have come to expect from them and the talented supporting players, which include Viola Davis and Paul Dano, who all earn their big paychecks by distracting the audience from the fact that none of them are playing anything close to real human beings.

I admit that I found "Knight and Day" entertaining at times but the film trying to combine realistic characters with unrealistic action situations while throwing in strained comedy and an unconvincing romance in the mix just didn't work.