Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Knight And Day

Year: 2010
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano

You know, the marketing campaign for this film is very disappointing. There isn't a single decent poster available, one that spells out 'Must See Movie'. The filmmakers were probably thinking that having Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz's names on the poster would be enough. And it would be, if the film can live up to its star billing. But does it?

In Knight And Day, Diaz plays June Havens, a woman with a knack of repairing cars, who's on the way to her sister's wedding when she bumps into a handsome stranger, Roy Miller (Cruise). She is denied permission to board a plane back home but Roy makes it. Then later, the airline allows her on board, and June discovers that the plane is mostly empty. Odd, right?

In mid air, June and Roy hit it off, then she goes to powder her nose, and then THIS is where we find out that Roy isn't just an ordinary stranger. He's a spy, and the plane is a trap set for him! Roy kills everyone else on board, including the pilots, and subsequently reveals his identity to June. And now the chaos starts.

Despite Roy's efforts to keep June out of trouble, by drugging her, tipping her off on what to do when bad guys turn up etc, she somehow ends up in the middle of it with him every time. It turns out that Roy is wanted by the government for something that he may or may not have done. And like it or not, June has to go along for the ride.

Director James Mangold, who helmed memorable films like Girl, Interrupted, Walk The Line and Identity, does a decent enough job with the action sequences. Of course, seeing Cruise in this role isn't difficult, it's not new to us. It's interesting that at 48 years old, he can still kick ass. Diaz is the necessary romantic interest/comedic distraction, and just like Cruise, this role is very familiar to her too.

But the question is, does it work? Well, yes and no. Cruise and Diaz work well together, but not consistently. Sometimes the chemistry is there, and sometimes it isn't. The two of them are supposed to be romantically involved, but the script doesn't give them any room to let their relationship blossom. I felt like the only reason Roy keeps saving June is because he's the good guy who always has to save the day, and not because he cares about her. Whatever spark that occurs between them fizzles out before it even becomes anything.

To make matters worse, the supporting cast is mostly wasted. Peter Sarsgaard looks bored half the time and Paul Dano is underused as a genius kid whom Roy must protect. Also, the subplot on Roy's past is only skimmed over instead of being explored as it should be. It would have given his character more depth.

But for what it's worth, it is enjoyable if you don't think too much and just go with the flow. I'm just disappointed because both Cruise and Diaz have been better in similar roles before. And Mangold has certainly done better than this. (3.5/5)

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