Tom Cruise is a movie star, still, but only just. He of couch jumping and scientology fame went from being the definitive American leading man into a subject of parody – partly of his own making. All stars eventually go through a period where their fan base outgrows or changes on them, but there is definitely a dividing line with Cruise. And yet he is still a star, and a film like Knight and Day highlights that fact. Throughout the film, Cruise gives off the smile and charm that made him famous, in a role that plays (albeit briefly) with his reputation of being a little unhinged. He costars with Cameron Diaz in a film about a secret agent who keeps dragging along Diaz while being chased by bad agents (headed up by Peter Sarsgaard. My review of Knight and Day on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Cruise plays Roy Miller, who runs into Diaz’s June Haven at an airport. Their brief encounter ups suspicion, so she and Cruise are the only real passengers on their flight. They flirt and gain a bond, but then he has to take out everyone on the flight and land the plane. From there he leaves her, but warns that she’s going to get talked to, and the people who approach her might not be on the level. She meets Fitzgerald (Sarsgaard), and he uses the words that would alert her to danger, and quickly Cruise intervenes. From there it’s a cat and mouse game with the two making their way around the world trying to stop the bad guys and all that jazz. They’re there to protect a thing-a-magig that will help revolutionize the world, which was made by Paul Dano’s character and shouldn’t get in the wrong hands.
The film is way too routine for its own good. Crazy spy movies are familiar, and it doesn’t have the modest kick of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which exuded raw sexual energy from its leads. And, at this point, Diaz is past her prime, and too used to going through the motions. She starts by being incompetent, but by the end she can shoot a gun, etc. But her change from wallflower to kick ass is either shortchanged, or all together too familiar. The action set pieces are numerous, but nothing has any sort of energy to elevate the film. It’s infinitely forgettable, but if this film does any good, it’s in highlighting that Cruise is still appealing, and he knows how to do this well. He’s on good behavior here, and it works to the film’s benefit – he’s more appealing in this than he was in Mission: Impossible III. But the film never is more than the sum of its parts, and never develops the loopy energy these films need. Misfire.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1 Surround. The film comes with a DVD and digital copy. Extras are limited, which suggests that – like the film’s box office – Fox knew what they had here. “Wilder Knights and Crazier Days” (12 min.) and “Boston Days and Spanish Knights” (8 min.) give an overview of the filing process, and the bite sized pieces on the film, which are also padded by smaller featurettes “Story” (3 min.) and “Scope” (3 min.). “Knight and Someday” (9 min.) is all about the Black Eyed Peas song featured in the end credits, while there’s two viral videos (2 min.) and the film’s theatrical trailer.