It’s refreshing to find a big-budget action flick that didn’t start life as a sequel, a comic book or a TV series in movie theaters this summer. So, bring on Knight and Day, a fresh action-comedy with an all-star cast that that’s packed from start to finish with mind-boggling stunts in a series of exotic locations.
From the moment Tom Cruise’s slick secret agent Roy Miller deftly dispatches 12 armed assassins mid-flight before single-handedly crash-landing a passenger plane, it’s clear viewers are in for a thrill ride and Cruise is more than up for the challenge. Clinging on to fast-moving vehicles in Boston, sprinting across roof-tops in Austria, dodging bullets in the Caribbean and swerving rampaging bulls in Seville, the unflappable Cruise proves yet again that no-one does it better when it comes to live-action stunts.
Teaming up with Cruise for the first time since the bizarre and unsettling 2001 thriller, Vanilla Sky, Cameron Diaz is back to her ditzy, butt-kicking best as car mechanic June Havens. She’s the everywoman (albeit a particularly tall, blonde and striking one) who’s unwittingly swept up into a globetrotting game of cat and mouse after talking her way onto the doomed plane in a bid to get to her sister’s wedding.
Forced to stick with Roy as he tries to save a priceless new battery and its geeky inventor (Little Miss Sunshine’s Paul Dano in his blockbuster debut) from falling into the wrong hands, June begins to wonder whether her charming protector is really the hero or the villain? Let’s think about that for a second; it’s Tom Cruise pitted against the less-charismatic, less-handsome and less-athletic agent Fitzgerald (An Education’s Peter Sarsgaard), and when does Cruise ever play the bad guy?
Diaz’s scatter-brained geniality bounces well off Cruise’s laser-like focus, but the comedy moments are their best; their chemistry giving off a mismatched buddy vibe, but falling disappointingly short of steamy grand romance. Perhaps that’s why the film ultimately fails to satisfy beyond its gloriously choreographed but increasingly disjointed shoot-‘em-ups – which kill off an awful lot of people for a PG13.
It seems Cruise has achieved more of a Mission: Impossible 3 ½ with Knight and Day than a standalone story with real soul and staying power. Given his undoubted flair for action, fans will be pleased to know Mission: Impossible IV is already in the works. Hey, maybe those big-budget sequels with character’s we’re truly invested in aren’t so bad after all?
By Eloise Parker