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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.88%
Worth A Look: 9.76%
Average: 31.71%
Pretty Bad46.34%
Total Crap: 7.32%

4 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Knight and Day
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by Erik Childress

"DayKnight Savings Time"
3 stars

Most movies would be trouble on arrival baring a cutesy title that serves as a play on words from the lead characters names. At least that is what we would assume of something starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. That’s that other film though with the in-the-dark blonde involved with a superspy type. This one boasts a more impressive collection of talent and whatever your own personal thoughts may be of Tom Cruise at this point, the guy still remains an enormously talented actor who rarely signs up for anything low rent. While only partially reflecting our cheesiest thoughts about its label, Knight and Day unfortunately becomes a rather appropriate reflection of the movie’s aftertaste. For its first hour it is a fast-moving fun lark of an action-comedy only to drop much of its good will in the second half to become a generic package with little-to-no surprises in store for its audience.

Traveling back to Boston to make it in time for her sister’s bridesmaid fitting, June Havens (Cameron Diaz) did not expect to bump into the handsome Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) at the airport. Certainly didn’t expect to do it twice. The third time’s a charm, depending on your view, when they are on the same flight. Pleasant conversation leads June to hope he might be the one for her. By the time she is done talking herself into it in the bathroom, Roy is actually the only one left alive. It appears Roy has gone rogue from the CIA and is carrying some valuable package deemed important enough to conduct an assassination attempt on a commercial aircraft and put June in harm’s way. The pair survive a crash landing and June awakes in her apartment with a full breakfast prepared and little warnings as to what to look out for now.

Like hearing the words “safe” and “secure” and meeting agent Fitzgerald (a thoroughly wasted Peter Sarsgaard) who wants to know what June was doing talking to Roy. The mysterious superspy is quick to the rescue again though, leaping from moving vehicles and shooting from the hood, keeping June close as he states her survival depends on it. Not only are his fellow agents after the cargo, but Latin bandido Antonio (Jordi Molla) is ready to pay handsomely to anyone selling it. June is also not alone in Roy’s protective bubble as he is also keeping an eye on eccentric young genius, Simon Feck (Paul Dano), the inventor of said package.

All of this is played out under the predisposition that Roy might not be who he says he is. Or, at the very least, is certifiably nuts. That's what help makes the first half so much fun and cools our disbelief in Roy being a machine of invincibility. We are as in the dark as June and just along for the ride. Knight and Day then turns on a dime, showing its cards all in a single scene and losing much of its luster. In one of the few quiet moments of the film, Cruise's Roy lays out who he is, who their pursuers are, why he's on the run and what the MacGuffin is all in one fell swoop of exposition. Done with such sincerity and basted in Cruise's natural charm it is almost impossible to believe otherwise. Still as the film tries to convince us again that the roles of protagonist and antagonist are reversed, it is so half-hearted and obvious that we wish June had seen a few more movies.

Diaz's June at least is not the annoying sort that Katherine Heigl's character was in the similarly-plotted Killers. The problem is she really isn't much of anything, lapsed in control of the situation past psyching herself into kissing a total stranger. In the moment she's an attractive add-on to Roy's mission. Once the facts are in place, it's not out of place to wonder how much danger she was ever in. One order from mission Director George (Viola Davis) and June's involvement in the caper would be a moot point. Without it we still never feel a genuine threat from either party catering around an everlasting gobstopper of a battery, complete with an ultra-lame punchline in the denouement. There's rarely a doubt in the film when the chase is on. Whenever there's a time-out, motivations are crudely defined and Roy's more intriguing background (like his private island) is left to dangle with a throwaway visit to a safe house he is also keeping an eye on.

At nearly 50 Tom Cruise, like Roy Miller, is practically a freak of nature. Watching him perform many of his own stunts adds a layer of dedication that helps sell the ridiculous. Director James Mangold has become a pretty astute action director (his last was 3:10 To Yuma) in-between more character-based dramas like Heavy and Walk the Line, and aside from Cruise having fun with his nuts-or-not performance, the action beats are the best thing about Knight and Day. Again, frequent in the first half with everything but the motorcycle chase seen in the trailer jammed up front. The true face of villainy is an afterthought, an overreliance on knockout gags grows tiresome and the closer the film comes to reality, the light of Day crashes upon it and we're left underwhelmed by its obvious revelations.

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originally posted: 06/23/10 15:00:00
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell dull & boring 1 stars
1/31/13 the truth Cruise plays Cruise. Nothing can kill Cruise but... Cruise? <neck snaps> 4 stars
7/03/11 RLan an okay action picture with very little chemistry between the two stars. 2 stars
3/20/11 ad Same faces. Hmmmmm. 2 stars
1/07/11 millersxing I'm surprised the scenes where the car talks didn't make it in to this stupid movie. 2 stars
12/27/10 DK Tom Cruise has still got it, honest to goodness fun 4 stars
12/22/10 mr.mike Not bad at all 4 stars
8/07/10 naewar Total escapism; so funny; "Don't worry -- I've got this." 5 stars
7/31/10 Cheryl W. Great plot, great actors, lots of action. Loved it. 5 stars
7/29/10 Knowitall bastard Definitely better than "Mr. and Mrs. Smith". Tongue-in-cheek and has a heart! 4 stars
7/20/10 dmw It's all been done before, but funnier! 2 stars
7/20/10 garrett really? 1 stars
7/03/10 Charles R.L. Power Wild stunts, depthless characters, silly plot 2 stars
7/02/10 Justin Pile of crap. 1 stars
7/02/10 Ming It is not one of Cruise's best film. There is not much of a plot here. Crude joke 2 stars
6/27/10 SMO Pretty standard action flick, but that's not saying it didn't have some entertaining scenes 3 stars
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  23-Jun-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Nov-2010


  DVD: 30-Nov-2010

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