Knight and Day: Mild humour and extensive CGI fails to distract from absent plot

Posted on August 20, 2010



Knight and Day is unimpressive and dull

USA, 2010

110 Minutes

Directed by: James Mangold


Cameron Diaz (Vanilla Sky, Gangs of New York) – June Havens

Tom Cruise (The Color of Money, Mission Impossible) – Roy Miller

Peter Sarsgaard (Rendition, K19:The Widowmaker) – FBI Agent Fitzgerald

Paul Dano (the Girl Next Door) – Simon Feck

Jordi Mollá (Bad Boys II) – Antonio the Arms Dealer


Knight and Day follows the story of Roy Miller, a rogue spy and June Havens, who restores classic American cars. Miller and Havens end up on the same flight to Boston, Mass. from Wichita, Kansas. They bump into each other first at the airport in Kansas, where Havens finds herself unable to board her flight – despite being booked. Miller is attempting to evade his bosses, who, because him and Havens keep bumping into each other assume the pair are working together to smuggle a secret power source out of Kansas.

Havens is eventually placed on the flight under FBI instructions – she is unaware of this – and she begins chatting to Miller. While she visits the bathroom, Miller is accosted by passengers, flight staff and the pilot, all of whom he kills. When she comes back Havens eventually notices this, and panics.

Once on the ground and back in Boston, the FBI, who believe more so than ever that she is working with Miller, seek to detain and question her. Miller breaks her out and explains the situation and why they are after him – they want to kill the creator of the perpetual energy device which Miller possesses, Simon Fleck – a geeky teenager.

Miller and Havens then work together in an attempt to evade the FBI and others, establish if Miller is innocent – which he assures her he is – and save Fleck.

Burnip’s Opinion:

I had expected so much more from this director, and the cast, yet a film that appeared stuffed with promise in trailers simply failed to live up to expectations.

For starters, comedy action Knight and Day is not ‘laugh-out-loud’ funny – the theatre I visited had a level of serenity only topped by the Dalai Lama – but it is entertaining.

Cruise goes from Mission Impossible no nonsense spy, to someone who is just as good, but who has more in common with Roger Moore’s portrayal of James Bond.

You may think, well, if the comedy isn’t all that good at least the action scenes will make up for it. You would be wrong. Sadly, the action seems tepid in comparison to other works of a similar genre, it even makes Mission Impossible (the slightly weak first one) seem like a rollercoaster ride.

Ok, so there is a lot of shooting, and some fights, but they are clearly so choreographed that they should feature the aging Steven Segal. They don’t flow, in fact the whole movie seems a bit stop-start, which doesn’t help matters.

The stop-start nature is perhaps to be expected from a project which had, at one stage or another, 12 writers on board, studio changes, cast changes and a host of other delays.

Further, and perhaps my biggest gripe with this film is that there is far too much CGI, and bad CGI at that. We’ve come to expect CGI to be almost unidentifiable, bar Rambo, it mostly has. With a $117m budget, they should have shelled out for something more advanced than MS Paint. That suggestion is perhaps a bit harsh – to paint.

Cruise and Diaz

The only saving grace - the interplay between the film's two Hollywood a-listers

The green screen effect really is dreadful, and makes the film so distant from reality the audience themselves begin to ponder the existence of an alternate reality, one where this deeply troubled project never reached principal photography, let alone global release.

This ‘romcomtion‘ if you will, is only saved by fantastic interplay between Diaz and Cruise’s criminally underdeveloped characters. On screen, they work exceptionally well together in their first collaborative project since Vanilla Sky.

Jordi Molla, dubbed the Tom Cruise of spain, filled his role – as arms dealer Antonio, very well also.

With competition from some very strong summer blockbuster movies Knight and Day will struggle. It’s adherance to the simple action comedy formula (action hero guy meets girl, girl gets involved in escapade, guy must save girl and prove innocence) makes it fairly predictable.

Dull, perfunctory, and not excessively funny, Knight and Day should never have seen the light of day.

Burnip Rating: 5.5/10

Wait for the DVD rental release

Posted in: 2010, cinema, I Burnip, reviews