Knight and DayKnight and Day

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Knight and Day is the sort of film about which it’s more or less pointless to write a review, because I doubt anybody at this point is still on the fence about whether or not to see it. And nothing I intend to say will change your mind in the slightest if you had written it off. With that said…

I wouldn’t recommend Knight and Day nor would I recommend you not see Knight and Day. It’s adequate. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are both getting older, but they haven’t lost their charms. Though one does get the sense that Tom Cruise might have been phoning it in to some extent–the chemistry is not quite right between the two leads, despite Diaz being very game, imparting a good deal of humor to her role and really embracing the plot’s various lunacies.

I’m going to take some ribbing on that from my wife–she always refers to Cameron Diaz as “your girl”. I’m not even quite sure why. I think because I disagreed with her once when she claimed Cameron Diaz looks like an alien.

But getting back to the topic of lunacies, Knight and Day contains more than its fair share. Within the first ten minutes, this film has strained all credulity beyond the suspension of disbelief’s breaking point, and having gone so far, it never pulls back. It’s the point of the film, really–Cruise is in full-on super-hero mode here–which is why it’s a bit difficult to apply a critical filter to it. The film wants to get you from point A to point B as quickly as possible with as many gun fights, car chases, and explosions as is possible. To that end, even one of the more interesting plot elements–to wit, that you’re initially unsure as to whether Cruise is the good guy or the bad guy–is given short shrift.

Entire sequences are also essentially lifted out of the film for the purpose of expediency. For example, when Knight and Day needs to get the characters from some location that I no longer remember to the Austrian Alps, it provides a tongue-in-cheek montage of sorts that is like the filmmakers saying, “You don’t really care how this happened–just assume that it was awesome.” The conceit is that Cruise’s character repeatedly drugs Diaz’s character, so a lot of the global jaunts pass by in a haze containing only brief moments of clarity.

In any event, I’m mainly commenting upon the movie so that I can briefly carp about something that bothers me in modern action films: in so many of them, nothing looks real anymore. Even ten years ago, almost all of these stunts would have been done with practical effects. Now, everything is done in the computer, and you can tell. I’m more forgiving of this trend in science fiction films, but in standard modern-day action spectacles, I want to believe this stuff is actually happening.

The image at the top of this review (the protagonists on a motorcycle being chased by bulls) is a good example. Not for a second did I actually think that those bulls were there or that Cruise and Diaz–or even their stunt doubles–were in any real danger. The entire car chase had a sheen of unreality hanging over it. Watch a film like Ronin and then watch Knight and Day: the former is thrilling because you know that when a car flips over or does an impossible turn down a street that’s barely narrow enough to get through, some stunt driver really did that shit.

Come to think of it, Knight and Day would have probably been a lot better in general ten years ago if only because Cruise and Diaz would have been younger…

In any event, it’s all right. It deserved its mixed reviews, but I don’t like seeing it unfairly maligned, either, because I don’t think it ever makes any promises that it doesn’t keep. You know what to expect, and you get it.