Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Knight and Day Review

Summer blockbuster action-comedy Knight and Day brings with it the opportunity to reassure yourself that megastar Tom Cruise hasn’t yet gone completely off the rails. Sure, he looks a tad wild-eyed here or there, but his manic energy mainly serves in favour of his character, the mysterious Roy Miller.

The script sees Miller on the run from an imposing government agency, unwittingly involving Cameron Diaz’s June Havens in a convoluted plot of espionage, nerds and lots of ‘Stuff Blowing Up’.

The audience’s indecision over whether Roy is totally crazy or just a misunderstood good guy is a curious case of life imitating art. Or vice versa. It’s hard to tell which.

Either way, it’s great to see Cruise having fun again after the disappointing Nazi-thriller Valkyrie and his downright bizarre and somewhat cringeworthy cameo in Tropic Thunder.

His roguish, knowing smile complements the screenplay’s sharp one-liners and excessive nature of the increasingly over-the-top destruction. The performance goes some way to save Cruise’s downward spiral and reminds everyone why he’s such a star in the first place.

Diaz does her standard ‘kooky’ act as a bright, yet ditzy girl-next-door type, with a superior knowledge about cars and engines thanks to her father. Whilst it’s a clunky aspect of the character, it’s nice that she’s not a totally clueless blonde, and she gets to do her fair share of the action set-pieces.

Whilst Diaz has done this sort of thing many times before, she’s very likeable and easy to watch in an act that she’s become well adjusted to over the years.

The action sequences are well orchestrated and great fun to watch, though are sometimes marred by poor CGI, particularly in a sequence involving a herd of bulls. However, many of the practical effects could put a grin on even the stoniest of faces such as Roy leaping and clinging onto the bonnet of a car June is driving. A desert island scene is as thrilling as it is loud, with lots of ‘Stuff Blowing Up’. Each set piece is grounded by Diaz’s likability and Cruise’s star power.

Whilst the action is enjoyable and exciting, the plot suffers considerably. It’s fairly all over the place, with an under-whelming McGuffin and little sense of danger. Whilst this isn’t the most important aspect of film, with the action and stars being top billing, some intelligence and coherence wouldn’t have gone amiss. The film title also makes absolutely no sense, and is never alluded to in the script.

There’s also the problem of a plot device in which characters are drugged, and we see clips through their eyes as they wake up momentarily during intense action sequences. The first time used, it’s quite funny, but the more frequently it occurs, you begin to feel like you’re missing out on some of the more exciting scenes of mayhem.

In all, it doesn’t matter that Knight and Day’s idea of being a spy is to cause as much wreckage as possible. It’s loud, noisy fun, and whilst nothing special, it does ‘Stuff Blowing Up’ very well in stunning locations, and it’s refreshing to have a blockbuster during the Summer that isn’t a sequel, remake or comic book adaptation.

Entertainment Value: 3/5
Genre Value: 3.5/5
Style: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 3/5