Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Review: Knight and Day
Love him or loathe him, Tom Cruise has been in some of the most iconic movies of the past 30 years. Whether he was flying with Goose, playing a vampire with Brad Pitt, or even going on impossible missions, Cruise has proven to be a box office star time and time again. But after his whole couch-jumping/Scientology-is-the-answer antics, people kind of fell out of love with the man. All the same, he’s always let his movies do the talking, and for the most part, his movies have been pretty damn good. So, is Knight and Day worthy of the Cruise standard? All I have to say is a resounding yes, yes, and yes, as the movie is pretty damn awesome. You should definitely give it a watch.
The Movie: Four stars
Let me be the first to say that I hate Tom Cruise. From his love of Scientology to his obnoxious squinty stares into the camera, just about everything about the man makes me want to break a bottle over his head. But before all you Cruise fans out there get all uppity about my comments, let me be the first to also say that the man usually makes pretty good movies. I don’t know why, but I just can’t turn the channel whenever Days of Thunder or Cocktail is on. Honestly, the man doesn’t make bad movies.
Still, after the whole "Tom Cruise is crazy" fiasco, most people don’t even want to see a Tom Cruise vehicle anymore, even if it does feature the ultra-hot Cameron Diaz. And to those people, all I have to say is that you’re missing out, as Knight and Day is as great a Tom Cruise movie as you’re likely going to get. It’s got enough comedy for you to at least chuckle a little bit, and enough outrageous stunts to make you ask, “Wait, how’d they do that?”
That being said, the story, while enjoyable, is entirely forgettable. This movie came out in what I like to think of as the summer of spy thrillers, as both Salt and The Killers also came out around the same time. The story centers around a woman named June Havens (Diaz) who just so happens to get involved in a plot involving bad guys who want to obtain a battery that can pretty much generate perpetual energy. The holder of this battery is Roy Miller (Cruise), your typical action hero who can do pretty much anything. And by anything, I mean anything, as piloting a plane, holding onto the roof of a car, and riding a motorcycle through stampeding bulls are all par for the course for Mr. Miller. Of course, these senses no doubt make for some great action sequences, and that’s what carries this movie through -- the action. Director James Mangold never allows you to get bored, because there’s always something new and exciting coming around the corner. One minute, Havens is looking all googly eyed at Miller, and the next, boom, something explodes. Another minute, Havens is talking to some dude on a train, and blammo, he turns out to be an assassin. If one were to read the script to this movie, they’d probably find out that half the page is dialogue while the other half is just “rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat” written over and over again all the way to the bottom. That’s what this movie is: talking, followed by violence.
Thankfully, the talking is pretty enjoyable, and Cruise and Diaz make a good team. She might not seem like it at first, but as the movie progresses, you totally buy into the idea of Diaz being the type of woman who could actually be scared shitless one minute and then, seconds later, drive a car 100 miles per hour into a hairpin turn. She just seems like that kind of girl, and the casting director definitely did a good job pairing her up with Cruise. They have good chemistry together.
It’s not all good in explosion land, though. The title, which I’ve always planned on using with my kindergarten friend, Kenneth Day, in mind (Get it? Rich Knight? Kenneth Day? Knight and Day? Aww, who asked you?) doesn’t seem justified at all. We find out along the way just who this “Knight” character is (and would I be spoiling anything if I told you it was Tom Cruise?), but it all comes off as cheap and unnecessary. Why did they give it that title? It stinks. Also, as much as I like Peter Sarsgaard, making yourself look tough for an entire movie doesn’t make you an interesting character, I’m afraid. But it’s not his fault, as he is entirely underutilized, just like every other character in this movie who doesn’t have the last name of Cruise or Diaz.
Still, this is a much better than average action-comedy with a lot of feel good energy and panache. If you like fast-paced films (and even if you hate Tom Cruise, like I do), you’ll really like this movie. Definitely give it a watch. It’s worth it, Scientology-minded actor notwithstanding.
The Disc: Three and a half stars
Do you think this movie comes on enough formats? This DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy pretty much fits any medium you can think of, sans the dead-as-a-doornail VHS format. So, you have no excuse if you don’t have a Blu-Ray player to watch this movie. You can still see it on your computer or your DVD player if that’s all you’ve got available.
Aside from the variety of options, though, you also get the “Wilder Knights and Crazier Days,” featurette. I know the film did terribly at the box office, but this special feature shows just how hard the cast had to work on this film, especially Tom Cruise, who’s still doing most of his own stunts. This includes jumping off of a building and riding a motorcycle through running bulls. Seriously, as much as I dislike the man, you gotta love his work ethic. The man’s a braver than Jason Statham; would he ever drive a motorcycle through raging bulls? I think not!
You also get to watch Cruise awkwardly stand beside the Black Eyed Peas as they unveil the song “Someday” from the Knight and Day soundtrack to the public, and man, is it painful to watch. Most of the audience attendants, looking to party, instead look confused when the dull song comes on. It was more cringe-worthy than watching the original version of The Office. (Well, maybe not that cringe-worthy).
Some viral videos and a trailer round out the rest of the special features, which are pretty good given the variety of options you have to watch them on.