In entertainment, familiar faces and concepts delivering
a familiar product, such as a romantic action comedy film,
can often be a welcome escape. Especially in a summer riddled
with sequels and remakes, it’s quite refreshing to
know that what you’ll get is a film that can stand
alone, free from any franchise connections or adaptation
trepidations. Such is the case with James Mangold’s
latest film featuring two leads who have both experienced
random success in a variety of genres. Regardless of how
these two leads are currently received by viewers, this
is enJuneable summer fun that careens at breakneck speed
with a smile.
Witchita airport, we meet carburetor enthusiast June Havens
(Cameron Diaz), on her way to her sister’s (Maggie
Grace) wedding where she literally bumps into the charming
and mysterious Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) -- twice.
sparks fly as the two flirt in typical meet cute fashion.
But while Diaz is flashing her aw-shucks cheeky grin and
batting her baby blues, Cruise subtly emotes something we
can’t put our finger on…is he a little off or
just playing hard to read? The jury is still out as we see
both of them conveniently board the same plane, yet hardly
anyone is on it. How strange.
next thing we know, a shocked June comes out of the lavatory
to find everyone onboard dead, including the pilots….except
Roy. He calmly explains it’s all his doing and that
everything is under control, he’s just gonna make
his way into the cockpit and see about landing. Yes, there’s
more to Roy than he is letting on and the audience is privy
to more information than poor June is, as we see her unintentionally
paired with a presumably rogue secret agent man.
may or may not be the truth but one certainty is that Roy
knows how to handle himself and take care of June in any
life-threatening situation. Sure, he comes across a lil
crazed but at least he warns June that there will be goons
claiming they are CIA, asking that she come with them, promising
her safety. He ensures her just the opposite is true and
she soon barely survives to believe it. There are actual
CIA agents like Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard), who has followed
the two since the airport and may have a hidden agenda,
unbeknownst to his boss, Director George (Viola Davis),
who wants “the situation” resolved immediately.
almost seem that without Roy around, the level of craziness
would still escalate as fast as the dead bodies seem to
be piling up. Plus, June’s firefighter ex-boyfriend,
Rodney (Marc Blucas) might be dead instead of nursing a
non-fatal bullet wound, if it wasn’t for Roy’s
presence. Clearly, the guy is helpful though, as they manage
to dodge enemies with aim worse than stormtroopers, leaving
colliding vehicles left in their wake.
variety of gun-toting goons pursuing Roy (and by association
June) are after a super-powered device that resembles an
ancient Egyptian spark plug. Apparently, this hot item can
somehow run an entire city.
only is he trying to keep them both alive as they jaunt
around the globe, but he’s also trying to protect
the brainiac creator of this gadget, Simon (Paul Dano) from
biting it as well. It seems everyone in the know is aware
Roy has it and he knows they want it. While everyone he
comes into contact with is safer, there’s still this
feeling that life would be a lot less stressful having never
is a film that could have derailed disastrously at several
turns. While it is obvious that certain plot points hinted
at will show up later, Mangold (3:10 to Yuma and
Walk the Line) convinces us to have fun while suspending
our disbelief. He maintains just the right tone for the
story, never making the film too violent or the humor too
low-brow, as composer John Powell’s lilting accordion
repeatedly waltzes along.
not be known as the go-to guy for action films but Mangold
delivers sequences where you can actually follow. There’s
no close-cut, shaky cams here, instead clever camera shots
are present that allow us to follow along easily.
as action rom-coms go, Mangold delivers pure entertainment
despite a shoddy script. Patrick O’Neill is credited
with writing the film but the script had seen many hands
(such as Scott Frank, who wrote the great Out of Sight)
before reaching his. Maybe all the glaring plot-holes is
a result of too many writers. It did take me a bit to resolve
that some silly situations will remain unexplained.
in creating unbelievable situations, the world in which
the action is taken place still has to be somewhat believable.
It could be that the scatttershot world we see in Knight
and Day isn’t standing still long enough to accept
logic. That’s okay though since it doesn’t prevent
the film from being a good time.
being said, it’s surprising to me how much hate there
is out there for Cruise and Diaz right now. Despite how
you feel about them, they do a great job here. Their on-screen
chemistry is intact, as are their obvious talents. Both
of them are able to balance the necessary comedic-timing
with the required nonstop action, in a natural way. Their
work feels effortless here, although Cruise comes across
like he’s knowingly making fun of his previous action
roles and the way the world perceives him.
as it may, it’s no secret that this movie succeeding
will definitely help the careers of these two stars. At
one point, Chris Tucker and Eva Mendes were signed for these
roles and that’s a completely different movie I would
not care to see.
film’s title is admittedly rather odd and only slightly
explained in the film as an ineffective plot device. It
was previously called Wichita and Trouble Man,
so it could’ve been worse. Oddly enough, the American
posters seem to communicate something with its whiteout
silhouettes, as if any two actors could play these roles.
Maybe I’m just looking too much into these images
but maybe not showing the faces of Cruise and Diaz will
draw more viewers, knowing the fatigue people have with
these two. Regardless, I’d bet that these actors have
more charisma and talent than Ashton Kutcher and Kathrine
not sure Knight and Day will do well in what is
turning out to be a tepid summer movie season. This is likely
to be a movie that people will continuously come back to
at some point. It’s certainly more satisfying and
funnier than any of the other action-adventures or comedies
out now. With what we have to choose from, this is a sure
review also appears on David's own website,
Keeping It Reel.)