The flashy trailer/prelude to “Knight and Day,” made it seem we were witnessing a resurgence of the Cruise. Scourged in recent years for his occasional and questionable public displays of neuroticism, the trailer suggested a return.
And pushing this idea was Fox, who have high hopes for “Knight and Day,” having opened with Midnight screenings in select cities this past Wednesday, hoping to spark positive word of mouth.
“Knight and Day:” summer popcorn rollercoaster? Yes it is. Did it come in third on its opening weekend? Yup. Know what? It doesn’t matter.
Directed by James Mangold, who’s most recent effort “3:10 to Yuma,” showed fair success, “Knight and Day” marks his graduation to full scale, old fashioned summer tent pole. Old fashioned in the sense that, for once, we are refreshingly devoid of superpowers, robots, and anything resembling the supernatural.
Like the best theme park rides, “Knight and Day,” lulls you with a gradual build-up. It begins with a friendly, flirtatious encounter and a few too many drinks, but unlike oh so many past dates, when the bold move occurs to bring Cruise and Diaz together, with “Knight and Day,” you don’t regret it once the film is over.
Cruise, a government agent who may or may not have lost his marbles, seeks to find a scientist who’s gone missing and recover an energy source that just might solve the worlds energy problems. Topical? Sure. But, once again, who cares. It isn’t why we're in our seats.
Mangold, from a script by Patrick O’Neill, offers direction well beyond what a film like this requires. And though O’Neill’s original script was surely destroyed by Hollywood over-development, enough of a legitimate story remains to maintain interest on screen. Complemented by the consistently talented Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, and Viola Davis, the film commits to what it aims to be.
Do I still wish that the rest of Hollywood knew story as well as Pixar? Do I still wish for more cleverness and witty banter? Do I need to answer that?
“Knight and Day,” satisfies that urge for action in an otherwise lackluster summer, and offers enough plot to stop itself from becoming “Transformers.” Not saying much? Well, it’s one of the best action films to come along this summer. How’s that? What else do you have to choose from?
A Tom Cruise smile. A Cameron Diaz grin. Exotic locales. Explosions. Bikinis.
Tom Cruise comeback? Who cares.
What: "Knight and Day"
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard
Rated: PG-13 for profanity, drug use and violence
Should you go? It's not bad.