Looking back at 2010 around this time, it seems like there has been a lot of action comedies that didn’t really work well, except for Date Night because that was kind of hilarious, in my opinion. But in the heat of the summer movie season ten years ago, there was a possibility that Knight and Day might be an action-packed ticket to be remembered and talked about highly when the season’s over.
What’s the Story: While catching a plane from Wichita to Boston, June Havens (Cameron Diaz) bumps into Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), twice, at the airport and catches a ride home. But she soon discovers he’s a fugitive super-spy who on the run from the CIA once she finds out he killed everyone on the plane and must protect her at all costs when he carries a battery that could power a city these bad guys want to sell.
When I first heard about this time, I was excited, especially when Cruise is in the lead. The first time I ever saw the trailer was before Avatar, and it was a cool trailer with Muse’s “Uprising” playing over it. The concept itself sounded like it was going for a Mr. and Mrs. Smith meets True Lies kind of vibe, which is what I was expecting it to be. What I didn’t know about this was that it was in development for a long time as it was under the title “Wichita” and would’ve starred Adam Sandler. Knight and Day was the very first movie I saw during my summer vacation, and by that I mean I saw on the last day of seventh grade and my sister picked me up from school and drove me straight to the movies in hopes to see one of the coolest action movies the year had to offer. Did it? Boy, did my opinion changed drastically, and remembering that I had a poster of it made me feel more stupid.
Let’s just say it’s better than Killers, the Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl piece of crap that came out a few weeks before, and that’s saying something. As much as I like James Mangold as a director since he put out solid films before this like Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma, there was something about the way he was directing his stars and everything around them that felt lazy to me. A part of me wondered if he attempted to make this like a slick version of a classic spy thriller similar to James Bond but lacked the fun. At some point near the second act, I was wondering when this was going to end, and we haven’t even reached the climax. It took me two full times to realize how boring this was, especially when it lags significantly in the middle.
Don’t expect to see much of a romantic relationship between its two leads, folks. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz didn’t have that much chemistry. Even though they worked better in this than when they worked together in Vanilla Sky nine years prior, and I’m not even a fan of that. Nearly everything Cruise does in this is convincing. His character, Roy, is so unbelievable. And I get this is his job, but he’s too cool with his secret profession. But I can’t lie when I say he has charm and looks badass while doing everything. I will say Cruise’s performance here is fine, but it’s nothing amazing. Not including Tropic Thunder, Cruise’s last few movies had me worried about him not being the awesome action star he used to. Luckily, he got back on track with Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol the following year.
When it comes to mentioning Diaz, she wasn’t good in her performance. It was at this point where she was becoming one of those actresses that couldn’t land any more good roles when she was still acting. Throughout this, I didn’t care so much about her character, June. She’s put in peril for the first half, and I would want her to tag along with Roy to make the film go faster.
Almost everything else in Knight and Day is muddled with an incoherent script by first-time writer Patrick O’Neill that doesn’t have a consistent tone and really can’t decide on whether it’s trying to be a straight-up action movie or a silly comedy. I get that Diaz’s June is in danger and Cruise is her Knight in Shining Armour constantly saving her, but its plot doesn’t make sense. Speaking of comedy, nothing was really a knee slapper as the jokes fell flat. I can’t remember if I had decent laughs before, but I was surprised by how little this was trying to throw in the humor. There’s a moment where Diaz constantly fires her gun all over the place like an idiot when Cruise called out her name.
Since this had Cruise and Diaz in the lead roles, there’s no point in talking about the other supporting characters since they were ultimately wasted, including Viola Davis, Paul Dano, and Peter Sarsgaard.
The action sequences were fine from what I can remember, but now, they were underwhelming, if I had to be completely honest. Some can look at them and admit they are exciting yet ridiculous just thinking about how everything was being shown is probably implausible, which means suspending disbelief. It felt like it didn’t take itself seriously and sometimes played it out for occasional laughs. Occasionally, most of the action isn’t shown in its entirety. What I mean by that is there are moments where Diaz’s character gets knocked out/ drugged or something and then cut to a new location. That wasn’t a problem the first time it happened, but it happened again about two more times and it got annoying after a while. What’s the point of having a killer action scene if you’re not gonna show it or how Roy got out of the situation? Either it had to be for budget reasons, or the writer just didn’t know how to make scene transitions correctly.
Probably the funniest thing to come out from this movie was a Schmoes Know review when this came out. Both of them hated it, but this was the introduction to a running joke that shows in most of their reviews for awful movies: The Cartoon Cat. Who’s that? He’s the idiotic cat who’s responsible for writing all the horrible movies, and he made his first appearance here. And who can blame them? The script could’ve used a re-write with the cat thinking, “Hey, everybody. I just wrote an action movie with Ethan Hunt that’s gonna be Oscar gold.”
Between this and Killers, I would rather watch this again since I didn’t find this hard to watch but there’s no chance in hell I’m wasting two hours of sitting through Katherine Heigl slowly killing comedy for me again. All in all, though, this was disappointing as this could’ve been a really cool movie for the summer. Instead, it’s Mission: Impossible for the lesser-known crowd, even though I wasn’t expecting this to be anything great. Entertaining to some, while completely stupid for others, Knight & Day could be seen as fun and exciting with its high-octane premise, but it failed to compensate with minimal chemistry between Cruise and Diaz and cartoonish- action set pieces. Will we get a better version of this movie in the future? Someday.