Knight and Day

Knight and Day, directed by James Mangold (previous director of 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line), is an uninspiring, uninteresting action movie. Getting both of those words to work with the phrase “action movie” is quite a challenge, but somehow, through a group effort, it was pulled off. The movie itself gets boring primarily because the Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz have little to no chemistry between them both. Useless action sequences merely add to the feeling that all those involved were ruining a great premise for an action/date movie.

The plot of the movie started out fun and original, but again, the lack of a spark between the two leads just led to disinterest. The director made ample use of what I’ll call the “invisible montage,” wherein one of the main characters is semi-conscious, and what happens to them is revealed in a series of blurred, but outlandishly crazy situations only a few seconds in length and increasing in surrealism. This was a clever, if overused technique, but oftentimes the entire movie felt like longer episodes of these montages, with little reason for each to be happening other than to fill the quota for requisite action sequences. Because of some poor foreshadowing in the beginning of the film, even the finale became extremely predictable and had no weight.

Tom Cruise, playing the bizarrely comic spy Roy Miller, manages to pull his weight in his role. Cruise’s special kind of natural crazy is actually an advantage to the character he is playing. His unpredictability and his utter charm kept me, at the very least, entertained throughout the film.

Cameron Diaz, playing clueless midwesterner June Havens is obviously the weak link here. She can’t seem to keep up with Cruise’s character on screen, and aside from a few cutesy moments in the film, is outclassed by her co-star, and often by members of the supporting cast as well. Diaz doesn’t have a reputation for doing in-depth character studies of her portrayals, but the very least she could do is drop the same confused face she uses for most of the movie.

Together, Cruise and Diaz lack the chemistry that would have made this a decent movie without forcing the audience to shut off the emotional parts of their brains. In fact, the key make-out scene between the two of them was so clichéd as to be boring. Looking back at the entire movie, I believe that after their first few minutes together, the rest of their interactions just felt forced.

As for the rest of the cast, I have no special complaints or accolades, but I would like to single out one individual, and say that I would have loved to see more of Peter Sarsgaard. It’s immediately obvious that knows what he is doing on screen, and he deserved a much larger role than the one given to him.

In summary, Knight and Day is definitely worth skipping out on. Wait a week and soon enough some real 4th of July action blockbusters will be coming out. We’ll be sure to let you know which ones are the real deal and which ones are the duds. It’s just too bad this one was a dud, because it definitely had a lot of potential.

Two stars out of five.