Knight and Day is proof positive that Tom Cruise isn’t entirely self aware.
The very enjoyable action-comedy finds much of its fun with Cruise playfully spoofing his infallible action hero shtick he popularized in the Mission: Impossible series. Knight and Day actually plays out even more amusing envisioning Ethan Hunt as the main character throughout. Cruise is in on the joke and largely stays within the lines of his typical super spy roles.
In the film, Cruise (Jack Reacher) plays Roy Miller, who’s either a rogue federal agent attempting to sell a game changing energy device or a loyal agent trying to keep it away from shady fellow operatives. What’s the truth? June Havens (Cameron Diaz, The Other Woman) can’t decide. She randomly encountered Roy at the airport before finding herself caught in a global life and death struggle to stay ahead of the assassins coming to take him out.
Diaz is game for the role and she navigates June well. Diaz is careful not to make June an eye-rolling ditz, but someone completely overwhelmed with increasingly crazier scenarios.
Roy’s former partner, Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard, Black Mass), leads the charge to bring him down . But the feds aren’t the only obstacles Roy and June have to evade. A German hitman (Falk Hentschel, Legends of Tomorrow) and a smooth talking femme fatale (Gal Gadot, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) are also after the device.
Director James Mangold (The Wolverine) plays on audience expectation with Cruise in an action role. The film’s best running gag has Roy knocking Joy out in a variety of ways in the face of some insane predicament and wake up in a tranquil setting. Mangold counts on the audience being able to fill in the gaps in a very effective gimmick for an action movie.
Mangold embraces the full flair of a spy movie taking Roy and June to exotic locales including a deserted island, the Alps and Sevilla, Spain.
Patrick O’Neill’s script has just the right amount of humor and action. The film plays out like a modern take on Romancing the Stone with the out of her element female protagonist trying to keep up with her daredevil companion. It’s fun and breezy and Cruise and Diaz were ideal headliners.
Like Cruise, this type of role is well within Diaz’s wheelhouse. It’s easy to write June off as the dumb blonde paired with a spy, but Diaz gives June a lot of heart. Of the two, Diaz has the more challenging role in making June a funny character instead of an annoying one. Cruise does what he normally does, just in a more playful manner.
Clocking in at 109 min., the film wears thin in the final act. It already feels a bit long before Mangold decides to ditch the humor for a cliche action finale. This wasn’t a movie that needed to suddenly go serious and it’s the one moment where the film loses its way.
Knight and Day doesn’t revolutionize the spy genre, but it’s an entertaining, pleasant distraction with fun performances by Cruise and Diaz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: David James/20th Century Fox