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A collage of mayhem, action, flaws, and charm, Knight and Day is saved by the leads and unique summer freshness
Jump-starting the Mysterious Plot Summer Season (Knight and Day, Salt, Inception, Piranha 3-D), Knight and Day is quite an interesting thrill ride that's very fresh in the midst of a summer season with very little originality. With the two leads delivering charismatic, fun, and great performances, this movie is propelled by star power, intrigue, and never allowing the audience to be one step ahead of the flick. The twists and turns may have been a little unnerving, and the movie does suffer from being quite vague at times, the overall package is a fun one. Unlike most summer clunkers (there was some robot movie last year that was dismally pathetic, if only I remember the name) this one is forgivable for its flaws because of its style, loose direction, and freshness.
Without revealing too much (trust me, predicting the movie from the trailer will do you no good), Knight and Day follows a secret agent (Tom Cruise) that accidentally involves a bystander (Cameron Diaz) in the middle of a crazy fight spanning multiple agencies and multiple countries. Written by Patrick O'Neal, this script is very unique, very refreshing, and at times quite off-the-wall. The story moves very fast, but has time for some character development and character revelationseven if they become little blurbs here and there. The only issue is that characters are revealed in such quick and awkward manners, but it might be more an editing issue rather than a writing issue.
Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise were perfect for their leading roles here. Cameron Diaz has an undeniable charm that has made her not only a major box office draw over the years, but one of the few actresses that can carry any movie past mediocrity. At the same time, Tom Cruise also has the ability to propel movies with his impeccable charm and subtle timing. So, naturally, with these two together, movie magic is accomplished. Just like in Vanilla Sky (even if the editing and obscurity allowed the movie to collapse), Knight and Day is jump-started and propelled by Diaz and Cruise acting together. Their comic timing is great, and can still deliver the emotions when you need them to. Everyone else did a respectable job, but they consisted of dozens of small roles.
The movie however suffers from one major flaw: potential. This movie could have been something very special if it had been given a little more love, a bit more budget, and better editing. James Mangold is heavily varied in his directing resume (Cop Land, Walk the Line, Identity, 3:10 to Yuma) so he has the ability to run an action film (unlike the indie-director of the last James Bond flick). But, the movie does this mildly irritating thing in which it sets up potential action sequences, but skips them entirely. While the movie does offer plenty of action, this irritating directing/editing blunder was done at least three times. The fact that it could have done so much more doesn't distract from the overall quality, but does unveil its potential. With a budget of over $120 million, Knight and Day looks like an action movie that was running out of cash.
The action that we do get to see is plentiful, and fun. Plausibility and realism takes a timeout as we get insane chases, dozens of explosions, and plenty of fights. There is very little slowdown, very little time for the audience to breathe. The CGI is sometimes a bit much, but doesn't distract too much from the movie. Adding to the mayhem is the dozens of plot twists and turns, which range from small, to changing the flick entirely. Unfortunately, it seems like it was edited by someone with a samurai sword and too much sugar in his blood.
Bottom Line: While it could have been so much more, and could have really been something truly special, Knight and Day is still an admirable movie thanks to its leads---even if age is starting to catch up to them. With a crazy script edited in a crazy manner, this movie is far from your average summer movie, and is a mildly refreshing visual trip around the world. No sequel or remake connections here, as the plot is unique, even if the action is your usual CGI-heavy fare. The directing, editing, and content choices however keep it from truly hitting the big leagues. But if you want something different and sequel-free to watch this summer (without screaming for mercy as the movie continues), then Knight and Day is your flick. Unique concept, unique movie, unique flaws.
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