Knight & Day

Do you like Tom Cruise? What about Cameron Diaz? Neither of them? Ah. That could be a problem.
Publish date:
Updated on

Right, well first off, I have absolutely no idea where the fuck they got that title from. ‘Knight and Day’ makes it sound like Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are going to be some sort of crime-fighting double act in the vein of Starsky and Hutch or, um, Dalziel and Pascoe. In reality, while Cruise’s character is technically called Knight, for most of the film we think his name is Roy Miller and only find out it’s not towards the end in a non-important plot twist. There isn’t anyone called Day. Cameron Diaz plays a character called June Havens so really they should have called it ‘Knight and Havens’. That sounds shit, but at least it’s logical.

The storyline is similarly feeble. It revolves around a battery called a Zephyr which stores an infinite supply of energy (the specifics of how they’re getting around the many, many laws of physics that contradicts aren’t really gone into.) Cruise plays the secret agent assigned to protect this magical plot device but finds he has to go rogue to stop it falling into the hands of the bad guys. Along the way he crosses paths with Cameron Diaz who gets swept up in his international trail of intrigue, adventure and exploding helicopters.

The thing is, neither what this film is called or what happens in it are particularly important. Instead it’s been sold purely on the charisma and star power of the two lead actors. So whether or not you enjoy it will largely depend on how much you like Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

Obviously, in Cruise’s case, that’s going to be a bit of a problem as lots of people have gone off him recently - due to the whole Scientology and being mental thing. Personally, I still kind of like him. I thought his fat-suited cameo as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunderwas magnificent. That, and his extraordinary performance in Magnolia show he’s not afraid to play up to his reputation for being a bit crazy. Self-parody may well turn out to be the key to Cruise’s rehabilitation and, with a Les Grossman spin-off movie in the works, that redemption seems to be already under way. (NB This is not a universal rule however. Mel Gibson, if you’re reading this, I specifically don’t want to see you ‘sending up’ your reputation for being a Jew-hating, racist, sexist homophobe. That would not be cool.)

There isn’t anyone called Day. Diaz plays a character called June Havens - they should have called it ‘Knight and Havens’ - it sounds shit, but at least it’s logical.

However, in Knight and Day, Cruise is just a bit annoying. His shtick is basically to make wisecracks and smile manically at all times, even when he’s being shot at by hundreds of bad guys. Cruise’s smile has to have one of the most intense things I’ve ever seen. I seriously have no idea how it can even be possible for him to force his mouth open that wide, exposing so many of his perfectly white teeth, without literally ripping his cheeks apart. The only person who can match it is Julia Roberts, which is why you’ll never see the two of them on screen at the same time. If both of those massive terrifying mouths ever came into proximity of each other, it would create a giant white hole of ‘screen presence’ so powerful it would destroy the universe. Ever seen Cruise and Roberts in a film together? Exactly.

As for Cameron Diaz, she’s likable enough but is entirely overshadowed by Cruise and his big weird grin. In recent years, the folks who make action films have reluctantly faced up to the fact that, you know, women are technically people too and have given them equal status in their movies. Knight and Day is a bit of a regression in that respect, with Diaz relegated to the role of ditzy blonde who starts screaming at the first sign of danger and (snigger) can’t even shoot a machine gun properly. The power balance between her and Cruise is kind of redressed at the end but it’s still fairly clear who wears the trousers and who does the silent, drug-free childbearing.

All in all, for a summer popcorn movie this is OK but not great. Director James Mangold has an impressive list of ‘proper films’ on his CV including Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma so should really have been expected to turn this into something more interesting than a flimsy star vehicle. He does undoubtedly have a flair for action, however, and creates some really spectacular stunts including a motorcycle chase through the Pamplona Bull run.

Also, with the action jumping between so many glamorous and exotic locations – from New York to Salzburg, The Caribbean to The Alps – it’s quite nice to just sit back and enjoy looking at all the pretty places. Especially if, like me, you’ve fucked all your money away on booze and Pret-a-Manger sandwiches and now can’t afford to go on holiday this year. Still in quite a big sulk about that.

Click here for more stories about TV & Film

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook