Monday, January 24, 2011

Knight and Day

Directed by James Mangold.
2010. Rated PG-13, 109 minutes.
Tom Cruise
Cameron Diaz
Peter Sarsgaard
Viola Davis
Jordi Mollà
Paul Dano
Celia Weston
Jack O’Connell

Maggie Grace

We learn something about Roy (Cruise) long before June (Diaz) finds out. Right at the start of Knight and Day, we find out he’s got some pretty powerful people after him. For some reason, they set it up so that she’d be the only other person aboard a flight with Roy and assassins they’ve sent to kill him. After spectacularly escaping that situation, with June in tow, he goes on the run dragging her along and generally not telling her much of anything. Is Roy the good guy, or the bad guy? Is he lying, or not? What about the people chasing him? Where does June fit into all this? These questions drive all the action and gags that follow. With the next shootout, car chase or fist-fight never more than a couple minutes away, its definitely an action flick. Since much of that action, and nearly everything else fused with jokes, it’s also a comedy.

The near constant action is a big plus. It keeps things moving along. Our runtime breezes by. The whimsical nature of the script helps with this, too. There are no heavy scenes for us to slow down and ponder. The basic pattern goes like this: everything goes boom, a few silly lines of dialogue reveal ever-so-slightly more of the plot, everything goes boom again.

Where it falls apart is in the story. It only gives us a little at a time because its trying to stretch what little is there. What’s there is simply a rehash of something we’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. For all the mystery its presented with, it actually holds none. On top of that, the entire movie could’ve been done without the Cameron Diaz character. She’s completely irrelevant, aside from the fact that the filmmakers obviously wanted a female lead to create sexual tension. Otherwise, she just gets in the way, screams hysterically and puts herself in harm’s way on a regular basis merely so she can be rescued. She is a classic damsel in distress, except she’s a damsel our dashing hero just met.

This is strictly for those knights you just want to see a lot of explosions while Tom Cruise does the impossible. Did you see that? Anyhoo, its not terrible popcorn fare, but it isn’t especially memorable, either. About ten minutes after the credits roll, it will simply blend in with all the other action flicks you’ve seen.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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