Review: Knight and Day

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The Pitch: Mission: Interminable. (Not what they intended, I hope, but what we actually got…)

The Review: It’s amazing how one piece of furniture can affect a whole career. Who knows what would have happened to the last few years of Tom Cruise’s career if he hadn’t jumped around on Oprah’s sofa with such ill-advised abandon? One can only hope that he might have been getting better material than this. Five years ago, Tom was still a major box office draw, able to mix Spielberg efforts like War of the Worlds with smaller projects such as Collateral and everyone still respected him. Since then, a string of flops, even in some cases where the material has been good, and now expectations have been dialled down for a new Cruise movie.

Cameron Diaz has also not had much luck in recent years, although her career downturn goes back slightly further, having never really recovered (at least, apart from voicing Princess Fiona) to the eye-shattering mess that was the Charlie’s Angels sequel. Both stars have managed to make some interesting acting choices over the years, so you’d hope that they could manage to come up with something at least half decent here. But you’d hope wrong.

Where to start? Might as well start with the performances themselves, which have little enough chemistry in the opening plane sequences, but soon the actors take on the appearance of people who’ve been paid up front and don’t feel they have anything to prove. At points, this less resembles a film and more a competition to see who can give the least interesting reading of a line. The script is devoid of anything approaching genuine wit, and on repeated occasions you see situations coming a mile off and find yourself thinking immediately of better pay-offs or wittier comebacks. (In the case of one particular scene, most of those were in the Lethal Weapon movies twenty or more years ago – and even the last of those didn’t feel as tired or disinterested as this.) The supporting cast are no better, Paul Dano feels like he’s in the wrong film (but that one wouldn’t be any better) and Peter Sarsgaard manages to reach new levels of not-acting and viewer boredom.

The whole movie is devoid of suspense, believable threat or indeed, by the end, logic, but the biggest disappointment are the action sequences. For about five seconds, a Spanish set-piece near the end, with motorbikes whizzing through tight city streets and low slung cameras sets the pulses racing, but only serves to highlight what a crushing disappointment the rest of the action is – when you manage to make the crashing of a commercial airliner into the countryside feel so devoid of interest, you’ve achieved something, just not something to be proud of. The best analogy is to imaging playing a videogame where you cannot lose a life – at no point do you feel even remotely like the characters are in any kind of peril, which for an action movie like this is near fatal to its ambitions. For Cruise and Diaz die-hards only.

Why see it at the cinema: Cameron Diaz in a bikini. That’s all I’ve got. There was quite a good movie in here somewhere, but sadly you won’t be seeing it, thanks to the ineptitude of all concerned.

The Score: 3/10

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