Sunday 28 November 2021

Movie Review: Knight And Day (2010)

A humorous spy action thriller, Knight And Day demands brain dis-engagement then provides a fun dose of non-stop adventure.

June Havens (Cameron Diaz) restores classic cars for a living. While catching a flight to attend her sister's wedding, she bumps into Roy Miller (Tom Cruise). On the plane he subdues a team of assassins and crash lands into a cornfield. June realizes Roy is a CIA agent and she is now mixed-up in his wild world.

Roy has seized a small perpetual energy battery developed by genius scientist Simon Feck (Paul Dano), to prevent his evil ex-partner agent John Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) from selling it to an international arms dealer. But Fitzgerald has convinced his boss CIA Director Isabel George (Viola Davis) that Roy has gone rogue. In the globe-trotting adventure that ensues, Roy has to keep June and Simon safe while revealing Fitzgerald's motives and ensuring the battery does not fall into the wrong hands.

Directed by James Mangold and written by Patrick O'Neill, Knight And Day is a glitzy frolic. While undoubtedly entertaining as an almost old-fashioned star vehicle for Cruise and Diaz, this is also an artificial and relatively soulless exercise, often overpowered by special effects and lacking in anything resembling character depth.

The plot is a classic and most basic MacGuffin escapade, a new and barely explained perpetual energy battery enough of a device to instigate numerous chases around the globe. The logic holes are glaring, but the set-piece highlights are plentiful and spiked with humour, including the fight on the plane followed by a raucous crash landing, a stunt-filled freeway chase and shootout, and a re-invention of the running with the bulls. All are well executed despite erring on the side of bloat, Mangold using a running joke about Roy drugging June to get her out of jams as a shortcut to not even bother with some of the narrow escapes. Cruise again throws himself into the stunt work to enhance the awe factor.

In terms of performances, Cruise and Diaz are celebrities enjoying themselves while trading on their pre-established personas and unburdened by the need to act. So little is revealed about Roy and June they may as well be glossy magazine cut-outs thrown onto the same page. Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, and Viola Davis are wasted with even broader sketch strokes.

Knight And Day has all the planes, trains, automobiles, and motorcycles to create a festival of flashy kinetics, the toys plentiful even if the heart is missing.

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