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Monday, November 29, 2010

Knight and Day is Fine and Breezy

Knight & Day = 3 and 1/2 out of 5 Stars 
Roy Miller: Some people are gonna come looking for you now.
June Havens: Why?
Roy Miller: They'll tell you I'm mentally unstable and violent and dangerous and it will all sound very convincing.
June Havens: I'm already convinced.
An adventure-comedy-romance that takes you all over the world from the perspectives of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. The film is less about strong plot and action and more about how much do you enjoy seeing these actors working together. If you are a fan of the persona of these two actors tend to have in films, then you're likely to have the light, breezy fun that this film supplies.

Diaz stars as June, a single woman from Boston, trying to get back home for her sister's wedding. Being that this is movie world, June's job is fixing up old muscle cars, while still managing to look great in a bikini. While in the airport, June runs into a charming man, in the form of Tom Cruise, named Roy Miller. After one too many bumps into each other, June and Roy both end up on the same plane together, also occupied by a few other people that seem to have an agenda against Roy. After some more flirting on the plane, June heads to the bathroom and Roy manages to kill everyone else on board the plane, since they've decided to attack him.

June Havens: The pilots are dead!
Roy Miller: Yeah, they've been shot.
June Havens: By who?
Roy Miller: By me. No, actually, I shot the first pilot then he accidentally shot the second pilot. It's just one of those things.
Roy takes over flying the plane, crash lands in the middle of nowhere, and explains to June about the predicament she may now be involved in. He explains that he is a spy on the run, trying to protect something important (I think it was named Jimmy-John McGuffin). Roy turns out to be right, and is forced to pull June along for the ride, as he takes her around the world, fighting off others, escaping his former partner, played by Peter Sarsgaard, who may be working on his own accord, as well staying away from his former boss, played by Viola Davis.

But really, beyond all the shoot-em-up, bang bang going on in the spy vs. spy world, June just seems to be having a good time being with the supremely confident Roy Miller.
Roy Miller: Don't worry June, I got this.
The film was directed by James Mangold, who has managed to have a very varied career, heading up other films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, and Identity, all of which I like and gave me confidence in knowing that he was on board here. From what I can tell, despite being nowhere near perfect, there is certainly a solid tone established and a distinct approach to the action that gets across the kind of summer fun that you are supposed to have with this movie.



As I mentioned, the only ideal way to enjoy this film is by enjoying Cruise and Diaz in general. The characters that they play are basically thinly veiled versions of how they are characterized as people in general. For me, I was able to accept that. Diaz is attractive, a bit ditzy, and game to go along for some action. Cruise is almost spoofing his Ethan Hunt character from the Mission Impossible films, constantly showing off his smile, always having a solid solution to any possible danger, and playing everything very smooth. It may seem too smug for some, but I enjoyed these two in this film, and the chemistry that they had between each other.

While the film is certainly takes notes from other screwball adventures, such as Romancing the Stone, maybe a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and even some Hitchcock/Cary Grant films; it is also swamped in big action set pieces. What I did admire, was how the action played out. Much of the film is set in June's perspective, which leads to some creative play on Cruise doing his action thing. One particular scene is literally handled from a first person perspective that spans several countries. While towards the end things may become a bit of a mess, there is some solid action choreography throughout.




What was also admirable was the globetrotting aspect of the film, which leads to some great cinematography. Being in various countries such as Austria, Spain, and Jamaica certainly helped in keeping this film varied, supplying exotic locales to follow around these beautiful people; once again supporting the idea of this being a movie sold on its stars.

There are a number of lows for this film. It goes on too long (although that may have been changed since my screening), with the end dragging out a bit. The villain character is pretty bland, and a character played by Paul Dano is kind of broad. And while the ending certainly fits within the frame of the film, I didn't really enjoy the smoothness of it.

Still, as far as fun summer fare goes, this is a film I can get behind. It's entertaining, puts its stars in fun situations, is quite funny, and has the action to back it up.
Roy Miller: Nobody follow us or I kill myself and then her!

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