I am aware this came out in the summer, but this is what the Alderney Cinema had to offer this half-term, along with The A-Team, but I’ve already reviewed that so here is my review for action-rom-com Knight and Day. I am not a great fan of the first pair up of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, which was of course Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky. I didn’t really get, and I doubt I was only one. Thankfully though, their second collaboration is a much easier film to watch and enjoy. Both of these stars don’t seem to top bill a lot of films these days, Diaz being involved with the Shrek franchise and Cruise last few movies not performing exceptionally well. In fact, this movie didn’t do much busy at all in the box office, which isn’t a reflection of the quality of the movie, it is certainly enjoyable enough, but it does beg questions on how much can you rely on the star power of your main actors, particularly if some people may consider they were at the height of their stardom a decade ago?

The story of the film certainly allows for some entertaining action scenes and lets the strong natural chemistry that the two stars very evidently shines through. June (Diaz) is on her way home for her sister’s wedding when she runs in to a mysterious yet charming man at the airport (Cruise, in case you hadn’t guessed). But when on the flight, this man, Roy Miller, takes out every passenger on board revealing to June that he is a spy. June then becomes embroiled in government officials, energy crisis developments and outrageous action set pieces. The film can be formalic in its plot developments, although it does feature some  interesting characterisation, going more into the background of the Miller character then you may expect from this sort of fun frothy movie, which you don’t really watch for depth so when it comes in some areas like this it is rather welcome.

The ‘Macguffin’ of the movie (a super battery called the Zephyr, ‘the first perpetual-energy source since the sun’) did seem a bit random originally but it does its job as a Macguffin very well, by driving the plot forward, yet it isn’t the main focus of the movie and is really just there for the sake of it. This movie is very much a show for Cruise and Diaz, and it is Cruise who impresses the most. Even if his star is fading, here he does what should-be an excellent career move for him, taking on a lead role and sending himself up. He usually does this sort of role as a supporting player, Tropic Thunder being a prime example. But here he shows he isn’t afraid to send up the roles that have made him popular (mostly being Mission: Impossible) and he is clearly having a blast, and we’re joining him. It is the scenes between him and Diaz that work best in this movie, and thankfully that is what fills most of the running time. It is when we are seeing the background life of Diaz’s June or when she’s taking the action into her own hands that the film drags, as much as I like Cameron Diaz, June doesn’t isn’t engaging enough on her own.When Cruise enter the scenes, that’s where the film gets its life from and Diaz feels more comfortable on-screen playing off her co-star. 

The action is a mix of great fun, the highlight for me being the high-speed chase along the motorway, with tongue firmly in cheek. It is a lot more fun then the likes of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which this film does bear a fair bit of resemblance to. At points that like sequence, the action is fast fun and bonkers in the best way possible. But at other times it is quite cringe-worthy to watch and looks very rushed. The main culprit for this is the chase scene through a Bull run with some hideous CGI Bulls. It very much affected the momentum of the sequence and just seemed very careless where other parts of the film are very well put together. Yet the spirit of fun is highly maintained when both Cruise and Diaz are on the screen together. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. As mentioned earlier, the film loses its snap when Cruise goes off the screen, but there is a lot of very talented actors in the support from Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis and Paul Dano, but that talent is wasted. I certainly got the feeling that they were merely there to up the films credibility, some feeling and looking very mis-cast, Sarsgaard in particular. Dano is a far cry from the talent we’ve seen in the likes of Little Miss Sunshine and There Will be Blood. I know this isn’t the sort of film you watch for dramatic performances I just think it’s strange that they had to go for high calibre actors like that with nothing really to do in a film which is solely about its main two leads.

James Mangold, director behind the brilliant Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, isn’t trying anything too hard here, nothing too stylish but enough to allow the film to have a certain daft sense of character to it. He seems a strange choice of director for this sort of film as he is usually suited to drama movies (Cop Land, 3:10 to Yuma, both highly recommended), but this is very much a film that you feel everybody involved has a lot of fun making. And yes, we do have a lot of fun most of the time, Cruise has done better but has rarely been more fun with Diaz by his side. It is just that sort of film that does what it says on the tin. And that is all it ever wanted to be. 

3/5– While it sticks very much to formula, this is a film that rides on the energy and perfect chemistry from its two lead stars, for better and for worse, as the film slacks when the two separate. Thankfully though, these moments are brief, Knight and Day remains a fun and frothy action rom-com that makes for satisfying entertainment.

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