Knight and Day finds Tom Cruise in a familiar role, super spy, but to keep things fresh he adds the always fun Cameron Diaz to a solid and funny script that while cheats a few too many time provides a great character for Cruise too embody and for us to enjoy.
Things open in an Omaha (?) airport where both Roy (Cruise) and June (Diaz) are both trying to catch a plane to Boston and they not so coincidentally keep pumping into each other. After June is kept off Roy’s and her flight for being over booked, she is allowed on after a phone call from the government who is tracking Roy’s movements. Here is the catch, the plane is more or less empty and Roy seems very on edge with his few fellow passengers. After some shenanigans on the plane and beyond, Roy and June end up avoiding the authorities as Roy whips them around the world in the hopes of saving a top secret mission.
I know this is all vague and what not but the film does a nice job of keeping you guessing and I don’t want to ruin the surprise. The film moves along at a fine pace with Cruise providing plenty of laughs and has a great back and forth with Diaz. The film is also full of action set pieces taking us across the globe and using all sorts of interesting ideas and conventions. That said, as fun and entertaining as the film is it feels like it is missing that special something to take it over the top and be a truly great action film.
The effects are solid, the action is inventive, but things might be a bit too CGI heavy for their own good. The films best moments though are the little character beats that litter the film and the subtle moments between the two leads.
James Magnold gets some great work out of his two great leads but I have to give him credit for taking a potentially tired concept, Cruise as super spy, and keep it fresh and fun. Patrick O’Neill’s script is also deserving of much of the films success as they are constantly feeding Roy with great lines and moments to show off Cruise’s comedy charms. The one hang up I do have with the film though is that it cheats us out of way too many cool and interesting scenes by telling the story through only the characters eyes. What I mean by that is that we only see what June sees and as June gets knocked out on a number of occasions we are whisked out of overly sticky situations without a natural conclusion. Instead Roy will knock June out and we see only glimpses of their escape and never really know what the hell happened for them to get out of their messes. And while it works for a laugh or two, I would much rather have seen the thrilling escape tactics of Roy.
I have already laid praise on the cast but it can’t go without saying enough how great Cruise is here. The smile and the charm never go away and he plays kind of to potentially crazy with ease giving Roy this manic and likable appeal. Diaz still looks good for the camera and handles the action as well and she does a fine job as our guide and our eyes as we go through the story. Paul Dano does some fun, if a tad over the top, work in the film when he shows up and it would have been nice to have had him around a bit more. Peter Sarsgaard is usually one of my favorites but he doesn’t get a whole lot to do or anything terribly creative to play with and that is a shame.
In the end, Knight and Day is a fun and fast adventure film that has plenty of action, tons of humor, great chemistry between the leads, and a fantastic lead role for Cruise. The film is missing that special something to take it over the top and there are far too many stereotypical action beats and throwback lines, but Cruise’s charisma should win over most as he continues to have a fine run of roles over the last few years. Knight and Day continues the solid trend of action flicks for the summer but fails to really blow the socks off the audience with something truly incredible.
Knight and Day is a B