From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knight and Day - C+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language, 110 minutes

"Knight and Day" an uneven blend of thriller and comedy

The mildly entertaining new spy thriller "Knight and Day" starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz is a very divisive film. People will love it or loathe it. It will be either a big hit or a huge flop. On the upside, there is a reckless, enjoyable charm to it and it's peppered with some decent action sequences, on the downside it's wildly uneven, implausible and largely pointless.

Diaz is June Havens, a midwestern girl who finds herself wrapped up in the life of a secret agent named Roy Miller (Cruise), with a deadly mission of guarding a top genius inventor (Paul Dano) who has created a perpetual energy battery that some high-powered and dangerous criminals the globe over is seeking. June is unsure who to believe - the beguiling Miller - or his colleagues at the CIA, including Agent Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard), who also has an interest in the battery, and their director (Viola Davis), who just wants all of this put to rest. June and Roy soon realize the only thing they can count on is each other.

"Knight and Day" is filled with a high-powered energy and a fast pace that starts minutes into the film. The only thing is, it's hard to buy into the story and particularly the romantic comedy angle, which seems forced and inconsequential to the story. Diaz's annoying, shrill character really is unnecessary; Cruise could've (and has) played this alone in the past ("Mission: Impossible" anyone?) and done just fine. All said and done, much of "Knight and Day" is a pointless excuse to get Diaz and Cruise together onscreen, which isn't a bad thing given the eye candy they provide, but a more engaging story would've helped; after all, the bad guys are after a...battery.

The action sequences, and there are many in "Knight and Day," are the real highlight, including the opening plane crash sequence, to many explosions to the finale, an exciting motorcyle-car chase-bull run through the streets of Spain. The script, on the other hand, is wildly jumpy, going from one episode to the next, as Diaz's character literally wakes up to another adventure.

This may be due to director James Mangold's ("Walk the Line") craggy direction, who handles the action serviceably but doesn't integrate the romance as smoothly. Cruise throws Diaz around, drugs her up and before you know it, they're in love. As for the supporting cast, recent Tony-winner and Oscar-nominee and wonderful actress Viola Davis ("Doubt") is considerably underused as the CIA director, while character actor Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"), playing another slimeball, is fun but miscast.

"Knight and Day," with all it's shortcomings, has an carefree appeal and some energetic fun that manages to keep you centered in the action, even if you don't care much for the stars, who have the capability to both charm and annoy at the same time. With that in mind, you'll hate it or hate that you enjoyed it.