A box office bomb upon release, Knight and Day has been frequently compared to this summer’s other thematically similar deadly-man meets girl-next-door comedic actioner Killers, which intriguingly shared at least one uncredited screenwriter in common to give the Katherine Heigl/Ashton Kutcher vehicle a script punch-up.
Admittedly however on the one hand, the benignly entertaining Killers took most of its inspiration from Doug Liman’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith and suffered for it in a CGI heavy and completely illogical conversational wrap-up that ruined everything fun that had come before it by failing to support the cool presentation with a cohesive storyline.
Thankfully, Knight and Day took a decidedly different approach and succeeded thanks to its classic character-driven Hitchcockian and Hawksian adventure roots that spring-boarded into a pitch-perfect blend of old meets new Hollywood sophistication.
After reuniting Vanilla Sky actors Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise – both of whom needed a hit badly – consummate filmmaker James Mangold used the same techniques he’d employed in his western reboot 3:10 to Yuma to craft a solidly entertaining vehicle that builds first and foremost off of the magnetic star quality and chemistry of his leads.
While at times this hodgepodge of Charade and North by Northwest could’ve benefitted from more playful male/female banter and less focus on Cruise’s mind-blowing CGI-free stunt-work, Mangold backs up his likable stars every step of the way with the same Yuma like dedication to constantly blur genre lines with the ultimate goal of maximizing audience enjoyment.
Slickly executed and constantly reinventing, Knight and Day rivets on Fox Blu-ray, jolting you nearly off the edge of your couch cushion with a home theatre performance that rivals the big screen as Cruise takes a cue from Jackie Chan, using every airplane prop at his disposal to take out a murderous crew before crash-landing in the field below.
Moreover, it’s the type of sexy comedic jet-setting action vehicle that tragically Hollywood just doesn’t make anymore of tentative couples who redefine themselves and their relationships in mind-boggling circumstances.
And although their blink-and-you’ve-missed-it kisses lack the passion promised by their seductive banter, we’re easily charmed from the moment Diaz’s beautiful Boston tomboy meets Cruise’s enigmatic, figuratively shape-shifting man of action only to find herself whisked away on a dangerous adventure of a lifetime.
While you’d be best advised not to pay too close attention to the way it stretches suspension-of-disbelief slightly past its breaking point at times given a few implausible holes and convenient connections, this tale of strangers who meet outside a plane and on a train, highway, motorcycle, helicopter and more is a ride well-worth taking.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.