Friday, 9 July 2010


20th Century Fox
Now Showing

It probably made a lot of sense to cast Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz as the leads in Knight and Day. Their screen presence, by which I mean star wattage, go a long way to distracting from, if not entirely smoothing over, the plot holes and overall silliness at the heart of this action-romance, helmed by James Mangold, best known for directing the musical biopic, Walk The Line (2005).

My main problem with Tom Cruise has always been that Tom Cruise is a movie star. That is to say, no matter what film, what genre and what guise I see him in, all I ever see is Tom Cruise. That isn't to say that he can't act or has not given some fine, memorable performances: A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire and Magnolia certainly standout, as does his comic turn as movie producer, Les Grossman, in Tropic Thunder. But he's always Tom Cruise.

Cameron Diaz also suffers similarly in my eyes, for more often than not she plays not-so-ditzy, klutzy, highly likeable gals in lightweight rom-coms. Rare ventures into drama have failed to convince (coming off as shrill in last year's My Sister's Keeper), although uglying up in Being John Malkovich proved more successful.

But Diaz isn't ugly in Knight and Day, and nor is Cruise, both baring well toned bodies and beaming sets of teeth that do the American dental system proud. They meet-cute at the beginning of the film where they literally bump into each other at the airport. June Havers (Diaz) is headed home for her sister's wedding but bridesmaid duties are put on hold when Roy Miller (Cruise) turns out to be a rogue secret agent. He kills everyone on board their plane (they're also agents) before crash landing in a cornfield.

So begins a global chase as June becomes caught up in Roy's attempts to protect a young scientist (Paul Dano) who has created a new power source that everybody wants to get a hold of. Not that the specifics much matter; it's all about seeing Cruise and Diaz in exotic locales as they run, shoot and explode their way out of trouble with fine actors such as Dano, Viola Davis and Peter Sarsgaard left in their wake.

Not that Knight and Day is without it's fun moments. It's enjoyable enough while you're watching it but very little of it will stick with you once you exit the theatre. I certainly could have done with a little more witty repartee between Cruise and Diaz who have undeniable chemistry, although more of the brother-sister variety than sexual.

But they certainly make for a much more entertaining couple - and Knight and Day a far more rewarding action-romance film - than Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler in this year's earlier release, The Bounty Hunter. Comparatively speaking, the two films are very much as different as night and day.

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