Knight & Day
Review by Jack Foley
KNIGHT & Day should have been a lot better than it is given the talent involved. But given its torrid history, endless plot re-writes and casting shenanigans, it’s perhaps little wonder that the film ends up feeling a great deal less than the sum of its parts.
James (Walk The Line, 3:10 To Yuma) Mangold’s action-adventure purports to be a fun throwback to caper movies such as Charade and North By Northwest, as well as a flirty spin on Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible persona and the James Bond movies.
But while it does have its moments, particularly early on, the film is marred considerably by some sloppy plotting, an indefatigable need for endless set pieces, and a little too much CGI in places.
When left to its talent (Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, et al) the film is fine… but there’s not enough time to allow any chemistry to truly develop, or characters to appear anything other than cardboard cut-outs.
The plot follows uber-spy Roy Miller (Cruise) as he unexpectedly crosses paths with feisty independent woman June Havens (Diaz) and involves her in an international conspiracy that has him framed for crimes he did not commit.
The two are instantly attracted to each other and quickly fall in love, but their relationship is continually threatened by trust and commitment issues, as well as Miller’s need to protect a high-priced and potentially world-changing commodity and to remain one step ahead of his government-backed arch-nemesis (Sarsgaard).
The ensuing action-adventure takes in Wichita, New York, the Caribbean and Europe, amid plane crashes, car chases, tropical island siestas and European-based train and motorbike encounters.
In truth, all this should be fun in a shameless blockbuster kind of way, especially since Mangold has made a career out of excelling in whichever genre he switches between (whether it’s Walk The Line, Copland or even Identity).
Cruise, too, is a charismatic and enigmatic leading man, playing well on his Ethan Hunt persona, and enjoying some nice exchanges with Diaz (with whom he has already established chemistry on Vanilla Sky).
But after establishing an intriguing set-up, via a plane sequence that features prominently in the trailer, Knight & Day loses its way badly amid various plot machinations that don’t ring true, a storyline that struggles to grip, and relationships and set-ups that go nowhere very quickly.
The action is spectacular but, like The A-Team, a little too reliant on OTT CGI-enhanced scenarios, while the reasoning behind it requires one too many leaps of faith for the more discerning story followers.
Cruise throws himself into the action sequences with typical enthusiasm, and is probably the pick of the characters, but there’s no real sense of peril surrounding his Miller.
Diaz, meanwhile, turns from inept to elite a little too easily, and Sarsgaard is utterly wasted in the token villain role.
Put together, the negatives soon outweigh the positives and render Knight & Day a cumbersome blockbuster that disappoints all the more because of the talent involved. Put simply, everyone involved can and has done much, much better.
Running time: 110mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: December 13, 2010
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- James Mangold interview
- UK Premiere Photos