Monday, June 21, 2010

Knight and Day

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Diaz and Cruise Crisscross the Planet in Dizzying Spoof of Spy Genre

This high-octane, espionage thriller is the epitome of escapist summer fare. It’s got all the basic ingredients the blockbuster recipe calls for to keep you thoroughly entertained for the duration, from a multi-layered mystery to international intrigue to breathtaking cinematography at exotic locales to death-defying stunts to generous helpings of screen chemistry served up by a couple of matinee idols. Co-stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz make the most of their first pairing since the relatively-surreal Vanilla Sky (2001), and they are ably assisted in that endeavor by a talented support cast topped by Viola Davis, Maggie Grace and Peter Sarsgaard. .
At first blush, Knight and Day’s premise reads like that prototypical potboiler where a suave spy galavants around the globe fighting bad guys with a good-looking gun moll draped on his arm. But this iconoclastic adventure contains a number of cleverly-concealed twists which bubble to the surface only after you’ve probably already made some fundamental misassumptions about the lead characters.
The film opens in Wichita, Kansas, where we find CIA Agent Roy Miller (Cruise) literally bumping into small town gal June Havens (Diaz) just before they both board the same plane to Boston. “This might be a rough flight,” he warns with an ominous air.
Subsequently sitting across the aisle from each other as the jet cruises above mile-high altitude, the two proceed to flirt shamelessly over drinks until June excuses herself to powder her nose. That’s when an army of assassins comprised not only of every other passenger but of the crew members, as well, seizes on the opportunity to attack Roy. The seasoned sleuth proves to be up to the challenge, however, and after June returns to her seat from the ladies’ room, he matter-of-factly explains that “We lost the pilots,” and crash lands the aircraft in a cornfield.
FYI, the reason Roy’s been attracting so much attention is that he’s ostensibly been assigned by the Agency to prevent a perpetual energy battery, the invention of teen genius Simon Feck (Paul Dano), from falling into the wrong hands. Before the authorities or more adversaries arrive, he quickly explains that her life, too, is now in danger and that her odds for survival are far better if she sticks with him than attend her little sister’s (Grace) Beantown wedding as planned. Although this development is disconcerting, June swallows the bait out of a combination of curiosity and physical attraction. What ensues is madcap mayhem with so many bodies hitting the floor that it leaves her totally frazzled and begging her protector to, “Please stop shooting people!”
Just consider yourself forewarned that not much is plausible or as it appears in this over-the-top, hilarious spoof of the spy genre. “Mission Improbable,” but who cares!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence and brief profanity.
Running time: 110 Minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

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