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A Movie a Week #6: Knight and Day

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Tom Cruise has been through a lot in recent years and at the centre of every highly publicised controversy has been the subject of his identity.  Everyone, it seems, isn’t quite sure what to make of him.  Maybe that’s why he agreed to star in Knight and Day, a popcorn action movie which, if nothing else – and it really doesn’t achieve much – re-enforces one thing and one thing only – Tom Cruise is good at shooting guns and saving the day.

A renewable energy source created by a post pubescent genius is the MacGuffin and object that everyone wants to get their hands on in this bland action comedy from director James Mangold.  Cruise plays Roy Miller, a highly trained FBI agent-gone-rogue and is the only thing standing in the way of the much sought after object falling into the wrong hands.  However his plans of protecting the valuable item are disrupted after a chance meeting with June, an everyday woman with a penchant for fixing old cars, played by Cameron Diaz,  entangled in the chase, Roy now has a second precious object to protect.

Together they get shot at, chased and kidnapped in a variety of exotic locations, accompanied by some extravagant explosions.  Lots of explosions.  That’s all you really need to know story-wise, as it looks like most, if not all of the effort put into making Knight and Day was focused completely on the action.  The battery – a seemingly one of a kind, all important renewable energy source is seen but never used, making it unclear as to what the big deal is.  Also, the young genius who crafted the battery is fully capable of making more than just one, a point that seems to evade everyone in the movie until the final frames; sadly, it springs to the audiences mind fifteen minutes in.  Unfortunately, that’s not the end of Knight and Day’s many flaws.  When things get too complicated – when Roy and June get into a scrape where escape seems impossible, actionman Roy simply fires some sleep educing drug in his smiley co-stars face and they emerge unscathed on the safety of a  far away beach.  These gaping flaws and lazy story telling overshadow any attempt at romantic comedy, which is a shame because Cruise and Diaz have a great on screen presence.  Their unconventional meeting on an aeroplane during the film’s opening frames draw some chuckles rippling though the audience, if only they knew what was awaiting them.

It’s regretful that attention to story has been pushed so far to the foreground because unfortunately for James Mangold, the director of some great past efforts, Walk the Line and 3:10 To Yuma included, it’s painfully obvious.  Playing out like a second rate Mission Impossible flick, Knight and Day might be this summer’s first real flop.

Knight and Day is in cinemas August 6.

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