The Tom Cruise action persona is in full swing and given a good roasting in the entertaining Knight and Day.
But action is not the only genre Cruise excels in. Look up the definition for “leading man” and Cruise’s white choppers will be there to greet you.
Action. Comedy. Drama. Romance. The man is a master of all of these things, coupled with a smouldering charm that when, in this film, he shoots an unarmed assailant in the leg only to make him feel good about it immediately after, it’s not only entirely believable but damn funny as well.
It is in Knight and Day where Cruise is able to tap into his talents as Roy Miller, a super secret turned rogue (and possibly bat shit crazy) agent, who has in his possession an item which everyone from Government officials (Peter Sarsgaard) to Spanish arms dealers (Jordi Molla) want to get their hands on.
Whisked into this never ending roller coaster of espionage and gunfire is June (Cameron Diaz), a Bostonian car mechanic who catches Miller’s unsuspecting eye in the film’s opening scene set at an airport, which gives way to an in-flight fight sequence that expertly combines action with slapstick.
And like June, we are just going along for the ride, and bar a few bumps in the road it is an enjoyable one, with vastly underrated director James Mangold establishing a light and breezy vibe reminiscent of the screwball comedies of yesteryear, only with more explosions.
Imagine, if you will, Ethan Hunt thrown into a buddy action movie with Cameron Diaz riding shotgun.
The pairing of Cruise and Diaz (there second after Vanilla Sky) works very well, her bubbly vibe meshing with his charming intensity. The past few years have seen many a couple on the run action comedy, but this is the first to exhibit any real sense of chemistry and adventure.
Yet for all its fine performances and big budget spectacle, the visual effects are not very convincing, with CGI at times shamefully out of place in its attempts to combine the synthetic with the realistic.
Case in point is a climatic action sequence which features Cruise and Diaz on a bright red Ducati, whizzing through the streets of Spain during the Running of the Bulls, a major letdown since it could have been a contender for scene of the year.
Fortunately for us Cruise is in top form, kicking arse, cracking jokes, and more than willing to poke fun at his screen persona. And with a movie star of his stature leading the way, what else could be had expect for a good time?