James Mangold | 105 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | USA / English | 12 / PG-13
James Mangold is one of those filmmakers with a thoroughly eclectic CV, taking in crime thriller Cop Land, psych-ward drama Girl, Interrupted, fantasy rom-com Kate & Leopold, killer thriller Identity, Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Western remake 3:10 to Yuma, and is currently calling the shots on superhero sequel/prequel The Wolverine. Here he does something different again: the comedic action movie; the ever-growing subgenre we seem to have seen a lot of lately, with films like Shoot ‘Em Up, The A-Team and RED.
That’s the kind of film Knight and Day was advertised as — spy-action-movie spoofery — and it should therefore come as no surprise that that’s the kind of film it is. There are no big surprises in the plot or characters, but because it’s a comedy it can push the action sequences in ways that are too silly for a regular Tom Cruise kinda film, and I think that also allows us to forgive the fairly standard plot. Plenty of reviews and online commenters have expressed disappointment with the film, perhaps expecting something else — sometimes it pays to listen to the advertising, eh?
As a quick note, I watched the theatrical version but there’s an extended one too (that’s what comes of taking something from Sky Movies instead of a rental Blu-ray). It offers a couple of extra character scenes for Cameron Diaz and a few more beats in the action scenes. Essential? I shouldn’t think so, but it looks like some fun stuff if you have the choice. The total difference is around seven minutes.
Knight and Day is nothing deep or revelatory or groundbreaking, but if you were expecting it to be then more fool you. If you can’t abide Cruise or Diaz (and I know some people really can’t) then it should certainly be avoided, but those caveats aside I thought it was good fun. No classic, and far from destined to be a standout on Mangold’s multi-Oscar-winning filmography, but an appropriately entertaining couple of hours.