Compared to other action thrillers, this one is night and day apart. The new Regency Enterprise and 20th Century Fox comedy ‘Knight and Day,’ starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, was aimed to prove that at older ages, both actors could carry a big summer movie. While wanting to show they can still draw in big summer crowds, Cruise and Diaz prove that not provoking at least some thought in audiences won’t protect a movie from viewer displeasure.
‘Knight and Day’ follows the adventure of suspected CIA spy Roy Miller (played by Cruise), who bumps into unsuspecting June Havens (played by Diaz) at an airport in Wichita. Agent Fitzgerald (played by Peter Saarsgard) is trying to catch Roy, and after seeing him interact with June, puts the two on the same flight together to Boston. After crashing the plane, Roy tells June that intelligence agents are trying to capture him, and not to believe anything they say when they come to question her.
Roy later takes June hostage, so the agents don’t think she was in on his plan. He explains that he’s also trying to protect Simon Feck (played by Paul Dano), a young genius who invented a perpetual energy battery. Spanish arms dealer Antonio (played by Jordi Mollà) is trying to steal the battery while killing Roy, Simon and June.
Like most big-budget summer blockbusters, ‘Knight and Day’ was low on plot and high on action sequences. But despite the failures of his last several movies, as well as the criticisms of his personal life, Cruise proves that at the age of 48, he can still carry stunt-filled action sequences. As in his glory days in the ‘Mission: Impossible’ trilogy and other action films, including ‘Minority Report,’ Cruise can still make the audience forget not much was going on plot-wise.
Cruise also reignited the spark with his ‘Vanilla Sky” co-star Diaz. The two have a built-in chemistry together, and both brought in a comedic spark that played off of each other. While other actors were considered for both of their parts, including Adam Sandler, Chris Tucker and Gerard Butler for Roy and Eva Mendez for June, Cruise and Diaz fit perfectly together.
While Cruise carried most of ‘Knight and Day,’ it’s questionable to some degree why he passed on both the highly-anticipated upcoming thrillers ‘Salt’ and ‘The Tourist,’ both starring Angelina Jolie. While he said he felt both felt to much like his ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies, those where the films he received the most recognition from in recent years. He should stick to the same types of movies until his career gets on solid ground again.
Having gone through ‘development hell’ since its inception, ‘Knight and Day’ lacked an overall original creativity, and therefore was Cruise’s worst opening of an action film in 20 years. The script seemed to have no clear vision of what it wanted to portray, having gone through so many re-writes by numerous writers, including Patrick O’Neill, Scott Frank, Dana Fox, Laeta Kalogidis, Ted and Nicholas Griffin, Timothy Dalton and Simon Kinberg. As for directors, Tom Dey was originally signed on to helm the movie, only to be later replaced by James Mangold.
With so many collaborators on board, there was no really cohesive or realistic feel to the movie. One of the select few commendable attributes to the film besides Cruise is the fact that the audience spends most of the film understanding what June feels. It’s not told right away if Roy or Agent Fitzgerald is telling the truth about their intentions.
Overall, ‘Knight and Day’ isn’t the best movie of the summer, or of Cruise and Diaz’s careers. Not even making three quarters of its budget back in its first two-and-a-half weeks in theaters, it will most likely be considered a box office failure, especially when compared to other big blockbusters, including ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ and ‘Toy Story 3.’ But fans of the two will definitely want to see their reunion.
Written by: Karen Benardello