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Any Tom Cruise movie always comes with a great amount of curiosity. Add the spice of pairing up with Cameron Diaz and the expectations have already shot up higher....make it an action flick with James Mangold at the helm (Identity, Copland, 3:10 to Yuma) and one starts expecting the roof! One wouldnt say that the movie lives upto its expectations on all the counts, but yes it does leave you with a smile in the end.
Knight and Day follows the adventures of Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) and June Havens (Cameron Diaz). Tom is supposedly a rogue spy who is trying to keep the mysterious zephyr out of evil hands. After literally bumping into Miller, twice at the airport on the way home from Wichita to pick up car parts, Havens is told she has been bumped to a later flight. Meanwhile, Agent Fitzgerald (Peter Saarsgard), believing Havens is working with Miller, puts her back on the plane.
So Tom crash lands a passenger jet into a field, where he and June, literally, walk away against the backdrop of the plane being blown away. After all, its just a plane crash, all in a days work for our hero. It is after this point, that things actually start getting unrealistic. The movie then snowballs into a series of car chases, fights, beautiful locales and comic situations which for the script are supposed to be serious.
The first thirty or forty minutes are probably the best; the action scenes are fun and improbable in an engaging way, an improbability the rest of the film never quite matches upto. After some time, the tone slips away. The action and intrigue, which are supposed to dominate the storyline, become cartoonish backdrops to June falling for Roy.
Not much chemistry can get sparked when the movie's constantly leaping from one action scene to another. There was a great scope to make the dialogues witty (Rush Hour, Bad Boys type) but that is an opportunity missed here. Again, you see some witty exchanges in beginning, but then it just slips into the normal rigmarole. The lack of depth in dialogues is seen when Cameron Diaz actually delivers this line: Im restoring a 66 GTO and Kansas has the best scrap?
The lack of characterisation comes across glaringly in Cameron Diaz. Besides, screaming, fainting and looking harassed when she is not trying to look good, she doesnt have much to do. She doesnt come up as a partner to our Knight. Only the truth serum scene is where she has some scope to perform her oft portrayed comic girl avatar. Otherwise you see no difference from her performance as Natalie in Charlies Angels. Also, Cruise's manically grinning, possibly delusional persona isn't pushed in any interesting direction. The movie doesn't really give you a good enough reason for Roy to keep June around either and by the time you do crack it, you're well in the film's grasp.
James Mangold keeps the film light and loose and allows Cruise and co-star Cameron Diaz to do most of the heavy lifting.
The special effects is another area where the team needed to work on. A simple thing like a motorcycle ride superimposed on the green screen is too easily visible. Shoddy to say the least and at times, it is this shoddiness that kills the thrill. Likewise, the screenplay tends to stretch a bit and you wish that the film would have been shorter by about 10 odd minutes.
Cruise is good in a role which suits him well. You love him every time he smiles or presents you with a situation wherein you feel compelled to wink ! Diaz sleep walks through majority of the film. Saarsgard has nothing much to offer, rather wasted. What was wrong with his accent? The point where the film lacks the punch is that there was an excellent opportunity created here wherein the audience had to keep guessing whether Cruise was rogue or not, but by keeping Saarsgards character more on the lines of Viola Davis sidekick, that track also failed. Imagine a John Travolta / Nicolas Cage scenario in Face/Off.
All said and done, enjoy this masala flick for what it is, an action comedy which does not take itself seriously, and neither should you. The 25+ crowd might not be able to connect with the film as they have no clue about Cruises phenomenal appeal amongst their mothers nor Diazs sex symbol image during The Mask. Considering the fact that it is this segment that primarily drives the weekend ticket sales, do not think this flick will do much business here.