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No Shining Armor, Just a Knight

Movie Title: Knight and Day (2010)
Spoilers: none

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Director James Mangold brings you Knight and Day, an action-based romantic comedy where June Havens (Cameron Diaz), an ordinary woman looking forward to her sister's wedding, crosses paths with the dangerous Roy Miller (Tom Cruise), a government agent who appears to have gone rogue.

With praiseworthy fight scenes (ah, finally someone shows us how it's done in the year 2010!) and enticing action shots that DON'T rely on camera shaking, the abounding chemistry between Diaz and Cruise is not to be taken lightly. It is never less than noticeable and is only not immediately visible when Cruise is fighting on a plane and kicking the mother-lovin' rumps of government agents sent to take him, or when he is being chased and leaping from car to car as easily as you or I walk to the bathroom to take a tinkle. 

You, the viewer, get to see unbelievable stunts successfully done with off-timed compliments given in conversations happening during perilous situations. And things become more and more improbable and incredible the further in you go. There are more stunts here than in two Mission Impossibles, but unlike Mission Impossible, this one's dialogue doesn't seek to evade the ears of the viewers by trying to sound overly impressive. Count on Cruise and Diaz to bring the impressive...the rest of the movie, uh, maybe not.

Knight and Day isn't particularly funny – certainly not when it tries to be – and the conspiratorial crap that goes to the affect of the CIA and the FBI not knowing who to trust is, to me, a tired old idea that is just not shining on the audiences as much as it used to. Spies and agents switching sides is “old hat” material and pretty much unwanted if it's not accompanied by a completely house-rocking story or sub-story. We don't get either.

We get a movie that is hopelessly romanticized in scope and a darn near perfect fit for nonchalant, “don't over-think it” moviegoers, the kind who dig it when the girl asks, having just gotten though an impending crisis (while staring in a quasi-romantic trance): “Whoooo areeee youuuu?” It's the women who really dig this stuff. I don't think I'll ever quite understand why.

What I do understand is what shouldn't be and why. June's cell phone works...everywhere...even on a tropical island, and apparently all over Europe. At one point, she is told by Roy not to make any calls because if she does, their location will be tracked. It would pay to keep up on what should now be common knowledge about cell phones—those in power can track your freakin' precious cell phone and use it as a microphone without your knowledge. Prepare to get paranoid, but the authorities can hear every word you say in a room if they want to. Having a cell phone will make finding you easier. And it's been that way for years. Cell phones are like billboards printed in font-size-twenty-million and aimed at the satellites. They can't be missed.

But worse than that, the (unenthusiastically named) Roy Miller is a snazzy and cool cat, a guy who should be too cool for his own good. He's in a dangerous line of work and he never worries about getting caught because he can make it away when surrounded by the best-trained agents in the world. Carloads of law enforcement officers can't catch him, even when they've set traps for him—and he can do all that with a body in tow as a drugged June gets toted around with him for more than half of the film. Soldiers have him in point-blank range and he still gets away.

Oh, the lengths quixotic scriptwriters will go! This over-inflated action-comedy is for the women and the hopeless romantics, for anyone who bows the knee in wanton adoration to star power. To provide a woman with those impossibly high levels of suspense is the only near-foolproof way to keep her from cheating on you, but you can never keep it up for long enough. Mortal men cannot so please a woman, but how about Tom Cruise? He can do it.

Even in an ugly hospital gown, Cruise still looks good. There's no denying it, and only for one brief moment in this sentimentally slain James Bond jerk-around did I take my mind off of the movie to think of how much of a rambling psychopath Cruise's philosophical beliefs make him. That says something.

(JH)

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Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language)
Director: James Mangold
Summary: June Havens finds her everyday life tangled with that of a secret agent who appears to have gone rogue.
Starring: Tom Cruise "Roy Miller," Cameron Diaz "June Havens," Peter Sarsgaard "Fitzgerald," Jordi MollĂ  "Antonio," Viola Davis "Director George," Paul Dano "Simon Feck," Falk Hentschel "Bernhard," Marc Blucas "Rodney," Lennie Loftin "Braces," Maggie Grace "April Havens"
Genre: Action / Thriller / Comedy
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