Questions you’re not likely to ask during the 109 minute running time of the latest Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz action thriller:

  • Does Tom do all his own stunts?
  • Are those real bulls?
  • Does Tom do any of his stunts?

Questions you are likely to ask on your way out:

  • Why is it called Knight and Day?
  • Wasn’t that a bit like a middle-aged version of Killers?
  • Is Salt out yet?
  • I’m seriously, you guys. Why is it called Knight and Day?

The overwhelming feeling at the end, though, is that it could’ve been so much better than it turned out to be. Cruise and Diaz are actually excellent together. Their chemistry couldn’t be much better and the basic idea of the story — while a gazillion miles away from even the vague neighbourhood of originality — is entertaining enough.

Cameron Diaz plays June Havens, on her way to buy some parts for her dad’s old banger and at the airport, she continually bumps into Roy Miller (Cruise), who carries more than a passing resemblance to a rogue FBI agent. Roy’s got all Hell in a handcart after him and thanks to fate or luck or maybe even design, June finds herself entwined in all his covert hullabaloo nonsense that turns out to be built around a perpetual battery, but really could be around anything at all. That’s pretty much all you need to know. It really is that thin.

While it doesn’t play it fully for laughs, there’s a certain knowingness about the film and Tom, to his credit, brings a very likable sense of humour to the film. His mannerisms, maybe akin to Gibson in something like Conspiracy Theory, are good to watch and the first fifteen minutes when he and Diaz are bouncing off each other is probably the best part of the movie. Another highlight is June’s constant drugging in moments of great peril and from her point of view, we jump from one adrenalin-fuelled incident to the next, all in a minute, all just snapshots, as she drifts in and out of consciousness. This is actually a pretty neat trick. I mean, we know our heroes are going to get out of their bind if for no other reason than we’re just half an hour in and common sense demands three acts. The fact we never find out how they got out of the pickle doesn’t seem that important.

Once it’s all established and the cards are on the table, it doesn’t seem to know where to go from this good work and we’re left with a pretty stock action-thriller slash romantic comedy that isn’t romantic or funny enough and thanks to some truly woeful CGI, isn’t thrilling enough either. Effects-wise, the Spanish bull-run has to be seen to be (dis)believed. Put another way, those werewolves in Twiglit suddenly seem like something off of Wildlife on One.

Perhaps the main problem is that Cruise really, truly, desperately needs a career-defining move to be happening now. Watching this, with the borderline insanity of his character, it’s hard not to think of him playing bouncy castles on Oprah’s couch or wonder about his height compared with Cameron’s or about his South Park persona. He really needs a Pulp Fiction moment and Knight and Day is far too safe, far too generic, far too in need of a third draft to be that awakening.

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