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Knight and Day


None December 7th, 2010

A would-be summer sizzler that fizzled, "Knight and Day" does not lack in star power, anchored by two A-listers in Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. One is the film's greatest asset; the other, its greatest liability. But more on that in a minute.
 
Roy (Cruise) and June (Diaz) meet cute in a Wichita airport, where a mutual attraction is near-instant. She's flying home for her sister's wedding; he's "” uh-oh! "” a spy. Thus begins a whirlwind, globe-hopping chase between the FBI and Roy, and he's taking June along for the ride, supposedly for her own protection.

The hubbub's all over a battery that never loses power, but that's just a MacGuffin. The purpose of the film is to drop June into outlandish scenarios that threaten her life, and to let Roy get them out without even breaking a sweat. There are a pair of terrific set pieces up front "” one on the plane, another on the highway "” that suggest director James Mangold ("Walk the Line," "3:10 to Yuma") had the right pH balance between action and comedy all figured out.

But whereas Cruise plays things subtle, Diaz goes over-the-top, and the two approaches don't mix well. He's shrewdly playing a character that's a virtual parody of his Ethan Hunt from the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, and so much fun that you forget all his offscreen Scientology hoo-hah.

Diaz, however, has her acting dial stuck on "shrill," trying to get by on being cute. She's not. Cruise tries to make the pic soar, but she forever weighs it down. When he disappears for a good portion of the second half, "Knight" isn't nearly as shining. In fact, it feels downright bipolar.

Ultimately, it's about half a good movie "” a hair on the side of worth seeing just because it's a ball to watch Cruise having such a ball. With a different female lead, things could improve by 25 percent on the low end, but the ending is an embarrassment.

Aside from the standard production featurettes, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Blu-ray set features a pair of "viral videos" of Cruise and Diaz on set that appear painfully out-of-touch, like staged "America's Funniest Home Videos" submissions that aren't funny. On the weird side of things is a piece that shows Cruise and wife Katie Holmes meeting up with the Black Eyed Peas on tour as the hip-hoppers debut the song he asked them to write for the credits. "”Rod Lott

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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